1 Timothy 2 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 Timothy - Charles Swindoll

1 Timothy 1 1 Timothy 2-3 1 Timothy 4 1 Timothy 5 1 Timothy 6
& Church
Last Days
& Elders
Conflict &
Danger of
False Doctrine
Public Worship
Church Officers
for Apostasy
Pastoral Duties
Toward Others
Instructions for
the Man of God
Warning Worship Wisdom Widows Wealth
Written in Macedonia
Circa 62-64AD

(Source: Swindoll's Insights on 1 Timothy)

Possible Route of Paul's "Farewell Tour" after release
from his first Roman imprisonment. (see notes below)

1 Timothy 2:1  First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,

Barclay - So then the first thing I urge you to do is to offer your requests, your prayers, your petitions, your thanksgivings for all men. 

BGT  1 Timothy 2:1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν πρῶτον πάντων ποιεῖσθαι δεήσεις προσευχὰς ἐντεύξεις εὐχαριστίας ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων,

KJV  1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

NET  1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people,

CSB  1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,

ESV  1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

NIV  1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--

NLT  1 Timothy 2:1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,

NJB  1 Timothy 2:1 I urge then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone,

NAB  1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,

YLT  1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort, then, first of all, there be made supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, for all men:

MIT  1 Timothy 2:1 As of prime importance, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made in behalf of all men,

  • I urge, 2Co 8:6 Eph 3:13 Heb 6:11 
  • first: 1Co 15:3 
  • I urge: 1Ti 5:5 Ge 18:23-32 1Ki 8:41-43 Ps 67:1-4 72:19 Mt 6:9,10 Jas 5:16 
  • and thanksgivings: Ro 1:8 6:17 Eph 5:20 Php 1:3 2Th 1:3 
  • be made on behalf of all men: 1Ti 2:4 Ac 17:30 1Th 3:12 2Ti 2:24 Titus 2:11 3:2 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Matthew 5:44+   “But I say to you, love (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) your enemies and pray (proseuchomai  in present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for those who persecute you,

Matthew 7:7+  “Ask (all 3 verbs in red = present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey), and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luke 18:1+  Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought (dei) to pray (proseuchomai) and not to lose heart,

Ephesians 6:18+ With ALL prayer (proseuche) and petition (deesis) pray at ALL times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with ALL perseverance (proskarteresis) and petition (deesis) for ALL the saints, (SEE Praying in the Spirit)

Philippians 4:6-7+ Be anxious (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for nothing, but in everything by prayer (proseuche)  and supplication (deesis) with thanksgiving (eucharistia) let your requests be made known (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Colossians 4:2+  Devote (proskartereo in present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves to prayer (proseuche), keeping alert (gregoreuo) in it with an attitude of thanksgiving (eucharistia);

1 Thessalonians 5:17+ pray (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) without ceasing (adialeiptos);

James 5:16-18+ Therefore, confess (present imperative) your sins to one another, and pray (euchomai present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) for one another so that you may be healed. The effective (energeo - "energetic") prayer (deesis) of a righteous man can accomplish (energeo) much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. 

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Luke 17:15-17+ Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they?


Barclay says: Before we begin to study this passage in detail we must note one thing which shines out from it in a way that no one can fail to see. There are few passages in the New Testament which so stress and underline the universality of the gospel. Prayer is to be made for all men; God is the Saviour who wishes all men to be saved; Jesus gave His life a ransom for all. As Walter Lock writes: God's will to save is as wide as His will to create." This is a note which sounds in the New Testament again and again. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Danny Akin - In Matthew 28:16-20, the text we know as the Great Commission, the word “all” calls for our careful attention given its repetition: “ALL authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:18). “Make disciples of ALL the nations” (Mt 28:19). “Teach them to observe ALL things that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). 2) It would appear that the apostle Paul was captured by the same passion as His Savior and he wanted to see the same ignited in the heart of his son in the faith Timothy. He wanted prayers to be made “first of ALL” and “for ALL men” (1Ti 2:1). He wanted prayers to be made for ALL in authority” (1Ti 2:2). He, like His God, desired ALL to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2:4). And, he was convinced that Jesus gave Himself a ransom for ALL (1Ti 2:6). 3) Paul had what I would call “a Great Commission Theology for Life” because he worshipped, loved and served a Great Commission Lord! 1 Timothy 2:1-7 is about the basics of such a theology for life. There is nothing fancy or complicated in this text. It is clear and straightforward for anyone to see and understand. The issue is not that we don’t comprehend. The issue is one of obedience.

Lange says: The Apostle now personally counsels Timothy what he must do to fight a good fight in his pastoral office, and what should be his first task in his relation to the church. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Hendriksen says: Paul has something to "urge" upon Timothy. He is, as it were, "calling him aside" in order to exhort him with respect to a matter of utmost significance (note "first of all"). (Borrow Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles)

First of all, then, I urge (parakaleo - present tense - continually encourage) that entreaties (supplications - deesisand prayers (proseuche), petitions (intercessions - enteuxisand thanksgivings (eucharistia), be made (poieo in present tense ~ ongoingon behalf of all men - First (protos) is first not in time as much as in importance (aka priority). First things first as the saying goes and thus prayer is to be among those "first things!" In ministry it is easy to let the horizontal (manward) trump the vertical (Godward), but prayer sets the "compass" back "due north" (aka "upward" toward God!) 

Then (or therefore in some versions) connects the present exhortation with the preceding section, especially the charge to fight the good fight (1Ti 1:18+) "Since the subject of foolish teachers has been concluded, "then" takes us to the next subject." (Lenski) Urge (which repeats the same verb in 1Ti 1:3+) is singular calling on Timothy to take the lead in the prayer initiative of the church and this verb parakaleo could even convey a sense of urgency (especially in light of the infiltration by false teachers just warned about in 1Ti 1:3, 4, 6, 7, 19, 20). (THOUGHT - When the pastor leads out in prayer, it increases the likelihood that the sheep will follow! Dear shepherd, are you leading, lagging or even lacking?). As noted above, in the immediate context Paul had just called Timothy to fight the good fight (1Ti 1:18+) and now he focuses on prayer stacking up several words for prayer (4 of the 7 Greek words used here) which clearly has an emphatic effect. Prayer is important! I hear people say the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10ff+ has only one offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17+). I disagree and feel that prayer is also a mighty weapon God has given us to fight the good fight (cf Eph 6:18+). And here having just described the spiritual warfare waged with false teachers, Paul calls first of all for prayer. Is not prayer one of the primary ways to fight the good fight? As noted above the phrase first (protosof all conveys the idea that prayer is of primary importance. Most consider Paul's instruction in this section as referring to public prayer (suggested especially by following context), but clearly it also applies to private prayer. Paul is calling for continual (made is present tense) prayers of all varieties (all the synonyms for prayer are plural). Behalf of (huper) means on their behalf, which is a picture of interceding for others, to step up and pray for their sake (intercession is a privilege we only have on earth not heaven - cf intercessory prayer).

All men (and women of course) would include sinners (even Hymenaeus and Alexander who would be in special need of prayer!) and saints. The lost need prayer that they might be saved and the saved need prayer that they might be sanctified. All men are always standing in the need of prayer (play)! Note that all is a key word in this section (6x in 4v - 1 Ti 2:1 - 2x, 1Ti 2:2 - 2x, 1Ti 2:4, 6) One other point to remember is that no man is outside of the influence of the "energetic" prayers of righteous men and women! One other point is that all men does NOT include those who are dead! (See what the Bible says about praying for the dead)

Telling God about men is our great privilege and our great obligation!

Duane Litfin - Paul began with what he considered most important: prayer. What too often comes last in a church’s priorities should actually come first. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Prayer is not preparation for the great work. It is the great work.

    “Thou art coming to a King;
    Large petitions with thee bring;
    For his grace and power are such,
    None can never ask too much.
- Play Matt Foreman's beautiful vocal

Expositor's on first of all - “The most important point in my exhortation concerns the universal scope of public prayer” (Expositors). The

Gregory Brown on first of all - The early church devoted themselves to prayer, and the apostles prioritized it even over serving needy widows. They needed to give attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word. This must be our priority as a church and as individual believers....In many churches the announcements take up more time than the public prayer. And, our individual prayer often doesn’t fare much better....There is a tremendous power in corporate prayer; God meets with us in a special way when we participate in it. This reality should provoke spiritual leaders to add more corporate prayer into church services and gatherings. Leaders should incorporate prayer into the praise and giving times, as well as before, during, and in response to the preaching of the Word—in the midst of Paul’s doctrinal letters, he at times bursts into prayer and praise (cf. Ro 11:33–36). We should also set aside time for prayer in our casual meetings with believers. When meeting with fellow brothers and sisters for coffee, lunch, or dinner, we should take time to share prayer requests and lift one anther up. Prayer should be the priority in worship services and our individual lives. When it is not, God’s will does not get done (cf. Ezek 22:30–31). (Becoming a Praying Church)

Acts 2:42+  They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer

Acts 6:3-4+  “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Charles Swindoll adds "Prayer must be the first priority of any vocational minister for the sake of any ministry he or she may serve. Prayer reminds the minister that God is in charge, not people—not the congregation, the senior pastor, the staff, or the elders. The minister serves God first and people second. Furthermore, prayer releases the minister from the tyranny of the urgent and the demands of the immediate to focus on his or her calling. (See Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

Hiebert points out: The word here rendered "urge" is translated "beseech" in Romans 12:1. In such connections it carries the meaning "to beg, entreat, urge." What follows is not presented as a command but as an appeal to their conscience and their love to do what is asked of them. The practice of prayer cannot be forced by an outward command but must be prompted by an inner conviction of its need. (Borrow First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary - excellent resource)

Entreaties (deesis) speaks of prayer for personal needs (of others in this context = "on behalf of all men" - and God desires "ALL MEN to be saved" so pray towards that end!), but of course does not exclude prayer for our individual needs. Mention the needs of others first, then mention your own needs (it is easy to invert this pattern). 

Ralph Earle says entreaties (deesis) "basically carries the idea of desire or need. All true prayer begins in a sense of need and involves a deep desire, although it should never stop there. God wants us to bring our "requests" to him, and he always has a listening ear." (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)

William Barclay on  entreaties (deesis - requests) - It is not exclusively a religious word; it can be used of a request made either to a fellow-man or to God. But its fundamental idea is a sense of need. No one will make a request unless a sense of need has already wakened a desire. Prayer begins with a sense of need. It begins with the conviction that we cannot deal with life ourselves. That sense of human weakness is the basis of all approach to God. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

    Let not conscience make you linger,
      Nor of fitness fondly dream;
    All the fitness He requireth
      Is to feel your need of Him.

POSB has a convicting note - Just think what a different world this would be, what a different community we would have if we really took the names and needs of people before God and pleaded for them in an intense brokenness and in tears. Just think... how many more loved ones would be saved and helped, how many more within our community and state and country and world would be saved and helped, how fewer problems would exist within society, Scripture emphatically declares: "Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). (BORROW The Preacher's outline & sermon Bible)

"The failure of the church to pray in accordance with this exhortation is one of its great sins today."
-- Ralph Earle

Prayers (proseuche) is the most general word for prayer and always refers to praying to God, whether private or public and here the context suggests these are instructions to Timothy regarding public prayers. Note the "Disciple's Prayer" begins with a call to prayer using the related (cognate) verb proseuchomai and first acknowledging God's great Name (representing all His attributes) as we declare "Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed (hagiazo) be Thy Name." (Mt 6:9+)

Petitions (enteuxis) when compared to the root verb entugchano gives a definite sense of intercession (cf used of Spirit in Ro 8:27+ and Christ Himself in Ro 8:34+, Heb 7:25+). The thought is to approach God on behalf of others and ask Him to take action in favor of (sometimes against) a third party. As Brown says petitions "is not only a word of advocacy, “but also of empathy, sympathy, compassion, and involvement.” We should constantly engage in others’ problems and lift them up." Petitions "points to the fact that we can go freely before God at any time or in any place to talk with Him on behalf of others." (Cole)

Pulpit Commentary - It may, however, perhaps be said that every deesisis a proseuche, though every proseuche is not a deesis. The deesis is a "petition" — a distinct asking something of God, which a proseuche need not necessarily be. It may be merely an act of adoration, of confession, of recital of God's mercies, and so on. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

THOUGHT - Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray - they did not ask Him to teach them “how” to pray, they asked Him to teach them to pray. There is no Christian who has not needed to go to the Lord and ask for help with prayer. I know “that” I need to pray; I know “How” to pray; and I know “why” I should pray. Then why is it that I become distracted just at the time I know I need to be spending time with my Lord in prayer? (Johnny Sanders 1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Wiersbe - Many pastors spend more time on the announcements than they do in prayer! The late Peter Deyneka, Sr., my good friend and founder of the Slavic Gospel Association, often reminded me: “Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!” Prayer was as much a part of the apostolic ministry as preaching the Word (Acts 6:4). Yet some pastors spend hours preparing their sermons, but never prepare their public prayers. Consequently, their prayers are routine, humdrum, and repetitious. I am not suggesting that a pastor write out every word and read it, but that he think through what he will pray about. This will keep “the pastoral prayer” from becoming dull and a mere repetition of what was “prayed” the previous week....When a local church ceases to depend on prayer, God ceases to bless its ministry. (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament )

Those who lack a basic sense of gratitude in their lives lack a basic Christian virtue.
-- David Guzik

W E Vine on thanksgivings (eucharistia) Thanksgiving is to be the accompaniment of prayer, Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; of faith, Colossians 2:7; of all that we do, in word or deed, Colossians 3:17; it is to be a constant condition of soul, verse 17, and an expression of the heart to God, in all circumstances, Ephesians 5:20. Neglect of thanksgiving is a characteristic of the soul that is alienated from God, Romans 1:21; cp. Luke 6:35. Love, joy, peace, and in general the qualities spoken of as “the fruit of the Spirit,” are ever conducive to thankfulness.

Wiersbe says: "All men" makes it clear that no person on earth is outside the influence of believing prayer. (We have no examples of exhortations that say we should pray for the dead. If we should pray for the dead, Paul certainly had a good opportunity to tell us in this section of his letter.) This means we should pray for the unsaved and the saved, for people near us and people far away, for enemies as well as friends.  (Borrow The Bible Exposition Commentary)

Guzik has a good word on all men -  This tells us whom we are to pray for with these various means of prayer. The idea is that all men need prayer. You have never met someone that you cannot or should not pray for. Most Christians find it easy to pray for their family, friends, and loved ones, but it should not end there. We should also pray for our enemies and for those with whom we have conflict (ED: Mt 5:44+ where "pray" = present imperative something you cannot do without the Holy Spirit). We should pray for those who annoy us, and for those who seem to be against us. Each of these fall into the category of all men. To pray for all men also means to pray evangelistically. We should pray for our friends who need to know Jesus, for our coworkers, and for others we have regular contact with.. To pray for all men also means to pray for your pastors, to pray for your church, and to pray for other ministries you know and love. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Prayer is not a nicety, but a necessity.
God is sovereign, yet His sovereign plan includes the prayers of His people.

-- Steven Cole

Steven Cole -  As Paul begins to tell Timothy how to conduct oneself in the local church (1Ti 3:15), he puts prayer as the first priority (1Ti 2:1, “First of all”). But Paul is not just talking about the need for prayer in general. He is talking about the need for prayer as it relates to the salvation of the lost. He repeats some words and ideas in 1Ti 2:1–8 that show what he is driving at: “all men” (1Ti 2:1); “all” (1Ti 2:2); “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved” (1Ti 2:3, 4); “mediator ... between God and men” (1Ti 2:5); “a ransom for all, the testimony” (1Ti 2:6); “preacher and ... teacher of the Gentiles” (1Ti 2:7). Paul is talking about men—people—and not just about a certain few, but about all men. And he is talking about the Savior. His concern is that all would be saved. What he is telling us is that. Prayer that all people may be reached with the gospel should pervade the life of the church. Does such prayer pervade our church? Does such prayer pervade your life? Does such prayer pervade my life?...The point of all these (FOUR DIFFERENT) words (FOR PRAYER) is that we have different needs at different times. But at all times we need God and, therefore, we need to pray. (The Priority of Prayer)

THOUGHT - To stimulate/motivate you to pray for all men that they might be saved from eternally perishing take a few moments and prayerfully, reverentially play and watch this powerful video based on Fanny Crosby's hymn Rescue the Perishing. It may just change the focus of your prayers! I have found that when I pray for the perishing, God often opens doors of opportunity (cf Redeem the time/opportunity), to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a perishing soul. Sadly, I speak with many who say they "know about Jesus," but they still think they have to be good enough to get to heaven. My great fear when I speak with them is they may be those who one day will stand before Jesus as He describes in Mt 7:21-23+. Save them Lord. Amen! 

    “Some want to live within the sound
      Of Church or Chapel bell;
    I want to run a rescue shop
      Within a yard of hell.”
- C T Studd

Hiebert says: The apostle employs four words to indicate the different elements in the public prayers offered in the church. "Supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings." These four words indicate the different elements which are to enter into the public prayers of the church. (1) "Supplications" is a general word meaning a request or a petition and was used of petitions addressed both to men and God. Coming from a verb meaning "to lack," it signifies prayer which springs from a sense of need. A conscious sense of need is essential to all effective praying. (2) "Prayers" is distinctly a religious term in that it was used only of prayer to God. Although unrestricted as to its contents, it carries the thought of reverence in prayer. In public prayer irreverence in manner or content is inexcusable. Heartfelt reverence in public prayer is often sadly lacking. (3) "Intercessions," occurring only here and in 4:5 in the New Testament, suggests the thought of confidence in prayer. It does not have the limitation of being for others, as implied in our English term. It was used for a petition of any kind to a superior. It speaks of personal and confiding intercourse with God on the part of one qualified to approach Him. A life lived in fellowship with God gives confidence in prayer. (4) The three previous words indicate the character of the praying while the word "thanksgivings" points out the spirit in which our prayers are to be offered. It is the spirit of gratitude for blessings already received and those yet to be received. It is the complement of all true prayer. (Borrow First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary - excellent resource)

David Lewis - On Behalf of Another 1 TIMOTHY 2:1 (from At the Master's Feet)

It is a very great privilege to be permitted to pray for our fellow men. Prayer in each man’s case must necessarily begin with personal petitions, for until the man is himself accepted with God, he cannot act as an intercessor for others; and herein lies part of the excellence of intercessory prayer, for it is to the man who exercises it aright a mark of inward grace and a token for good from the Lord. You may be sure that your King loves you when he will permit you to speak a word to him on behalf of your friend. He who in answer to his intercession has seen others blessed and saved may take it as a pledge of divine love and rejoice in the condescending grace of God. Such prayer rises higher than any petition for ourselves, for only he who is in favor with the Lord can venture upon pleading for others.

Intercessory prayer is an act of communion with Christ, for Jesus pleads for the sons of men. It is a part of his priestly office to make intercession for his people. He has ascended up on high to this end and exercises this office continually within the veil. When we pray for our fellow sinners, we are in sympathy with our divine Savior, who made intercession for the transgressors.

Meditation Rock   1 Timothy 2:1-3 - James Scudder (from Living Water Devotionals)

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, near some of our country's most treasured monuments and home itself to several historical homes, there stands a lesser-known, but important monument. Its near the grave of Mary Washington, mother of the first president on a rocky plateau jutting out from a small foothill. It's Meditation Rock, where George Washington's mother prayed daily for her son and for the welfare of the young nation he was called to lead.

By now, green moss and lichen have covered the rock. Very few tourists put this landmark on their itinerary. There are no museums or churches commemorating the sight. Yet, this tiny locale in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the place where some of America's most meaningful discussions took place—between the mother of our first President and the Creator of the Universe.

George Washington owes much of his success to the deep faith of his mother, as do many others who have impacted our nation. Oft-neglected, mothers are the backbone of society, quietly raising the next CEOs, congressmen, presidents, and pastors.

My mother has gone on to be with the Lord, but I'll never forget her tireless efforts during my childhood. I can say with great pride that I had one of the worlds' greatest mothers.

Stop for a moment today and consider your mother. Tell her how much you appreciate her, even if it costs you a long-distance phone call or a night out at a nice restaurant. Make her feel special.

Women like Washington's mother, my mother, and many other mothers around the world have contributed greatly to society with their unheralded efforts. Praise God for all of them.

       Prayer—secret, fervent, believing prayer—lies at the root of all personal godliness.William Carey

Peter Kennedy - Out of Sight and in Your Prayers (from Generation to Generation)

       "I urge, then, first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."—1 Timothy 2:1-4

In 1876, the Scottish missionary Mary Slessor was sent to a part of West Africa where no colonial power was in control. She ministered in an area where witchcraft and barbarous customs of human sacrifice were common. Her life was in constant danger and she was once asked what prayer meant to her. "My life is one long, daily, hourly record of answered prayer for physical health" for guidance given marvelously, for errors and dangers averted, for enmity to the gospel subdued, for food provided at the exact hour needed, for everything that goes to make up life and my poor service. I can testify with a full and often wonder-stricken awe that I believe God answers prayer. I know God answers prayer. If you are ever inclined to pray for a missionary, do it at once, wherever you are. Perhaps she may be in great peril at the moment. Once I had to deal with a crowd of warlike men in the compound, and I got the strength to face them because I felt that someone was praying for me just then."

In our fast-paced world we often take the attitude, out of sight, out of mind. But the Lord wants you to remember not only those who are in your immediate lives, but also the leaders of your government, missionaries abroad, and leaders in your church. In your prayers today remember at least one person who is far away.

"Remember that God is our only trust. To Him, I commend you... My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer."—Mary Washington in a parting letter to her son, George Washington 

William Barclay also does an excellent job in distinguishing these 4 WORDS and bringing out Paul's emphasis in the passage: In this passage, four different words for prayer are grouped together. It is true that they are not to be sharply distinguished; nevertheless, when we examine each of them in turn, they have something to tell us of the way of prayer.

(i) The first is the word deesis, which we have translated request. Deesis is not exclusively a religious word; it can be used of a request made either to a fellow man or to God. But the fundamental idea of deesis is a sense of need. No one will make a request unless a sense of need has already wakened a desire to make that request. Prayer begins with a sense of need. It begins with the conviction that we cannot deal with life ourselves. It begins with a sense of our own inadequacy. It begins in a sense of human weakness. That sense of human weakness is the basis of all human approach to God.

"Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of Him."

Prayer begins with the realization of the helplessness of manhood.

(ii) The second is the word proseuche, which we have translated prayer. The basic difference between deesis and proseche is that deesis may be addressed either to man or God, but proseche is never used of anything else but approach to God. There are certain needs which only God can satisfy. There are certain needs that can only be brought to Him. There is a strength which He alone can give; a forgiveness which He alone can grant; a certainty which He alone can bestow. It may well be that our weakness haunts us because we so often take our needs to the wrong place.

(iii) The third word is enteuxis, which we have translated petition. Of the three words this is the most interesting word. It is a word with a most interesting history. It is the noun from the verb entugchanein. Originally, the verb entugchanein meant simply to meet or to fall in with a person; then, it went on to mean to hold intimate conversation with a person; then it acquired a special and technical meaning; it meant to enter into a king's presence and to submit a petition to him. Enteuxis acquired the technical meaning of a petition offered to a governor or a king. That tells us much about prayer. It tells us that the way to God stands open to us; that there is given to us this priceless gift of intimate talk with God; that we have the right to bring our petitions to one who is a king. The Christian is the man who has the right to take his needs into the royal presence of God. The author's lecture notes incorporate quoted, paraphrased and summarized material from a variety of sources, all of which have been appropriately credited to the best of our ability. Quotations particularly reside within the realm of fair use. It is the nature of lecture notes to contain references that may prove difficult to accurately attribute. Any use of material without proper citation is unintentional.

"Thou art coming to a King;
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much."
(Play Come My Soul)

It is impossible to ask too great a boon from the King.

(iv) The fourth word is the word eucharistia, which we have translated thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an integral part of prayer. Prayer does not mean only asking God for things; prayer also means thanking God for things. For too many of us prayer is an exercise in complaint, when it should be an exercise in thanksgiving. Epictetus, who was not a Christian but a Stoic philosopher, used to say: "What can I, who am a little old lame man, do, except give praise to God?" We have the right to bring our needs and our desires and our requests to God; but we have also the duty of bringing our thanksgivings continually to Him.  (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Urge (exhort,, implore) (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action. Sometimes the word means convey the idea of comfort, sometimes of exhortation but always at the root there is the idea of enabling a person to meet some difficult situation with confidence and with gallantry. 

Entreaties (1162)(deesis from deomai - to want, lack, be without something) is aroused by a sense of need and thus refers to urgent requests or supplications to meet a need and is exclusively addressed to God. "Sensing our lack and God’s sufficiency, our impotence and God’s omnipotence, should move us to pray." (Cole) Deesis prayers arise from one's sense of need (which reflects a humble heart) and in knowing what is lacking. This individual's plea is in turn made to God to supply for the need. Deesis in the New Testament always carries the idea of genuine entreaty and supplication before God. Deesis is used of the God-Man Jesus when He "offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death and He was heard because of His piety." (Heb 5:7+). 

Prayers (4335proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer and is used only of prayer to God. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before Him and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence.

Petitions (1783)(enteuxis from entugchano = to meet, encounter, chance upon, by implication to confer with or meet with (hence to have conversation - used of Spirit Ro 8:27, Jesus stands between us and God! - Ro 8:34) and by extension to entreat) means petitions, especially supplications. Enteuxis "pictures someone who can go into the presence of the king and talk freely with him on your behalf." (Cole) "The verb form (entugchano) indicates freedom of access, confidence and holy intimacy in approach to God." (Vine) Only used 2x - 1Ti 2:1, 1Ti 4:5 (no uses in Lxx). BDAG says it is "a formal request put to a high official or official body." The root verb entugchano conveys an additional nuance meaning "to interpolate with familiarity and freedom of access, to interrupt another in speaking, to come to God with boldness." (Zodhiates) Gilbrant - Enteuxis was used as a noun in Plato and meant “meeting” or “encounter.” In Aristotle’s work Rhetoric and in 2 Maccabees 4:8 it means “interview.” In the papyri and inscriptions, as well as in early Christian writings, the word refers to “official petitions” and to general and specific kinds of prayers. The noun form does not occur in the canonical portions of the Septuagint. Josephus used it for the “claims” of Cleopatra (cf. Bauernfeind, “enteuxis,” Kittel, 8:244). Enteuxis occurs only twice in the New Testament (1 Timothy 2:1; 4:5). In 1 Timothy 2:1 Paul stacked up three synonyms for prayer without a connector between them and included “thanksgiving” with them. Bauernfeind believes it is best to see no significant distinction between these words for prayer (ibid.). The structure of the passage helps us to understand how this word is to be understood. Verses 1-7 speak of Paul’s exhortation for men to pray for rulers. Verse 8 recaps and provides a transition for the next section regarding the conduct of women. In this verse Paul used one of the three words for prayer in verse 1 and simply said that men are to pray in every place. 1Ti 4:5 says that enteuxis, along with the Word of God, sanctifies food. Food is to be received with thanksgiving by those who have faith and who know the truth. Furthermore, “thanksgiving” occurs here with enteuxis two times: verses 3 and 4. Enteuxis also is found alongside “thanksgiving” in 2:1. In 4:1ff., then, the prayer that sanctifies food is the prayer that is said over the meal when it is eaten. Enteuxis refers to this prayer of consecration and thanksgiving. (Complete Biblical Library)

Thanksgivings (2169) eucharistia from  = well, + charizomai = to grant, give freely; English = Eucharist as related to Lord's Supper) is the expression of thanks or gratitude for favor and mercy shown. Thankfulness from one conscious of benefit received. Thanksgiving expresses what ought never to be absent from any of our devotions. We should always be ready to express our grateful acknowledgement of past mercies as distinguished form the earnest seeking of future mercies. It is notable that one the chief traits of unregenerate men is the absence of gratitude to God. 

Made (4160) poieo primarily translated with the idea of to DO (to bring to pass, to carry out, to bring about, to accomplish), to MAKE (to construct or fashion something out of existing material) to PERFORM.

DANNY AKIN - OUTLINE OF 1 Timothy 2:1-8 The Prayer Life Of A Man Of God

I. Be Dedicated As A Warrior Of Prayer. 1 Ti 2:1-4

1. Pray For All In General. 1 Ti 2:1, 3-4
2. Pray For Authorities In Particular. 1 Ti 2:2

II. Be Devoted To The Mediator Of Prayer. 1 Ti 2:5-7

1. Jesus Is The Only Way To God. 1 Ti 2:5-6
2. Jesus Is The Unique Witness To God. 1 Ti 2:6-7

III. Be Disciplined As A Teacher Of Prayer. 1 Ti 2:7-8

1. Teach People To Pray With Honesty. 1 Ti 2:7
2. Teach People To Pray Without Hindrance. 1 Ti 2:8
3. Teach People To Pray In Holiness. 1 Ti 2:8
4. Teach People To Pray Without Hatred. 1 Ti 2:8
5. Teach People To Pray With Hope. 1 Ti 2:8

ILLUSTRATION OF ANEMIC PRAYER - John Stott writes "Some years ago I attended public worship in a certain church. The pastor was absent on holiday, and a lay elder led the pastoral prayer. He prayed that the pastor might enjoy a good vacation (which was fine), and that two lady members of the congregation might be healed (which was also fine; we should pray for the sick). But that was all. The intercession can hardly have lasted thirty seconds. I came away saddened, sensing that this church worshipped a little village god of their own devising. There was no recognition of the needs of the world, and no attempt to embrace the world in prayer." (See The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus)

THOUGHT - In 38 years of walking with Jesus and being involved with prayer in multiple settings, the prayer that always seems to be the most common is prayer physical illness. Of course that is not wrong, but if you study Paul's prayers, you notice that he virtually never prays for physical needs, but almost always for spiritual needs. We are called to imitate Paul and that includes imitating him in prayer (1Cor 11:1+). It behooves us to study and pray the Pauline prayers for ourselves, our family, our church, our missionaries, our nation. See Col 1:9-14+, Eph 1:15-20+, Eph 3:14-20+, 1Th 5:23-25+, Phil 1:9-11+, 2Th 2:16-17+, 2Th 3:5+, 2Th 3:16+. You can never go wrong by praying God's Word back to Him. One prayer I frequently pray (and ask users of the website to pray) for all who visit preceptaustin.org is that each person might "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (I have just prayed that for you today) (2Pe 3:18+) When we pray Scripture, we can be assured we are praying in God's will and then we can have confidence He will answer, for John writes "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. ." (1Jn 5:14-15+)

Joe Stowell - PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE —1 Timothy 2:1–2

Sometimes, to hear Christians talk, you’d think that it is the government’s responsibility to advance righteousness and to be the steward, upholder, promoter, and protector of biblical truth and values. Actually, as American Christians we have lived in an unusual season of history. We’ve had a government that, although led for the most part by people who were not authentically Christian, was built on the fundamental tenets of a biblical heritage. But that has now changed. In fact, it is helpful to remember that most Christians through the ages have lived under hostile, oppressive, pagan systems. Quite frankly, Christians have often done their best in those environments.

God never assigned government the task of upholding scriptural truth. Scripture assigns government the responsibilities of safety, stability, peace, and justice (Romans 13:1–5; 1 Timothy 2:2). We give the wrong impression of the biblical mandate for government when we feel betrayed because it is no longer an advocate for truth and righteousness. The advancement and proclamation of godly values is assigned to our lives, our homes, and our churches. We don’t have the luxury of hoping that government will help us in the process.

Early Christians, during times of ruthless political regimes, took the responsibility to uphold their faith under great cultural pressure. They, not their governments, were the light of the world.

It was to these Christians that Paul delineated our responsibilities toward government. We are to honor those in authority over us, pray for them, and pay our taxes. Thankfully, Scripture doesn’t say that we have to vote for them; but since they are ultimately placed in authority by God, we are commanded to give them due respect (Romans 13:1–7). This biblical perspective recognizes God’s sovereign oversight, realigns our attitudes, and releases us to get on with the business of being the torchbearers that He intended us to be.

Pray today for those in authority over you. Make it a habit—and write to them and let them know.

J Oswald Sanders - Praying for Rulers 1 Timothy 2:2

I urge . . . that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1–2).

Christians have civic and national as well as spiritual responsibilities, and, among other ways, we are to discharge these responsibilities in prayer. We should pray for those who hold civic office and national or international offices on all levels. Are we discharging our responsibilities in this area? Is it any wonder that the voice of the church is so muted and her influence so minimal in the affairs of the world when she neglects this primary and divinely ordained method of influencing national and world affairs? If prayer cannot influence the course of world events, Paul’s exhortation is pointless.

Scripture teaches that the church and the Christian owe a duty to the state beyond mere payment of taxes and obedience to laws. It matters not whether rulers are good or bad; we are under obligation to pray for them as they exercise their offices. It is instructive to note that the ruler in Rome when Paul penned this letter to Timothy was the infamous Nero. Rulers may be persecutors or dictators, but Christians are not to stop praying for them.

In general, the early Christians did not evade or ignore their divinely imposed civic and national responsibilities. One of the early Fathers, Tertullian, gives us a glimpse into their practice: “We pray for ourselves, for the state of the world, for the peace of all things, and for the postponement of the end.”

Public officials have heavy burdens to bear, and they wield far-reaching influence. Their decisions affect the church, the city, and the nation. We must realize that the deeds of wicked people and corrupt officials can be held in check by our prayers.
In the midst of toppling thrones, Daniel maintained his serenity because he knew there was a sovereign God in heaven to whom he could pray. For him, that canceled every adverse factor. He could defy the decree of the ruler of Babylon, for he knew that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:17). (PP)

ILLUSTRATION OF PRIORITY FOR A PASTOR - One thing that most pastors struggle with is the little word priority, which means that which is given special attention over other things. And so here in chapter 2 Paul begins his exhortation to pastor Timothy to make prayer a priority! Here is a quote from a little book by Richard DeHaan entitled Men sent from God

Arriving in the church office at 8 o'clock in the morning, [the pastor] had intended to spend at least two hours in preparation for his Sunday sermon, a noonday talk at a local service club, and five radio talks during the coming week. However, he was reminded by his secretary that he had agreed to write an article for the church bulletin, scheduled to go to press at noon. He was also obligated to make three phone calls, one of them to the Chairman of the Church Finance Committee. After finishing with these duties, only 30 minutes were left for the preparation of his messages, since at 10 o'clock he was to meet with the Program Committee of the Ministerial Association. Just as he began to study again he received word that the mother of the President of one of the Women's Societies in the church had passed away, and his presence was wanted at their home at once. This, of course, caused him to miss his meeting with the Ministerial; but he was able to attend the 12:30 luncheon of the Women's Auxiliary. Following this he spoke at a study class. At 2 p.m. he officiated at a wedding ceremony. At 3 o'clock he began his visiting in the city hospitals, and finished just in time to make the Men's Supper, where he gave the invocation. The supper lasted until 7:30 allowing the pastor to get away just in time to attend a meeting of the Every Member Canvas Committee. He was on hand simply to make suggestions and to boost the Committee morale. Having done that, his day of service was finally ended and he arrived home exhausted at 9:30 that evening. (Quoted by Pastor Chuck Swindoll - See Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

Clearly the pastor described by DeHaan was standing in the need of prayer (play)


He who has charge of planets
Is mindful still of me;
Though I am weak and sinful, "
He heeds my faintest plea.

From scenes of radiant splendor
He notes one crimson drop
Of my heart's lonely bleeding;
The choiring angels stop

And gaze, all lost in wonder.
As He, the undefiled,
Stoops low in love to succour
His sinful, suffering child.
--Martha Snell Nicholson

HOW ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH GOD? The president emeritus of World Vision International says, "God is as important as the Rotary Club. We must not treat our appointments with Him with less respect. Write your appointment with God on your calendar. Treat the relationship as you would the partner in a good marriage. Make yourself accountable to a small group of other Christians." Engstrom lists three strategies that have worked in his life. 1) "I deliberately place myself daily before God to allow Him to use me as He wills. 2) I isolate a known point of spiritual weakness and work with the help of the Holy Spirit to correct and strengthen this area of my life. 3) I ask God at a specific time daily to reveal His strategy and will for me that day."

C. H. Spurgeon said years ago: You have no place in which to pour your troubles except into the ear of God. If you tell them to your friends, you but put your troubles out for a moment, and they will return again. Roll your burden onto the Lord, through prayer, and you have rolled it into a great deep out of which it will never by any possibility rise. Cast your trouble where you cast your sins; you have cast your sins into the depths of the sea, there cast your troubles also. Never keep a trouble half an hour before you tell it to God in prayer. As soon as the trouble comes, quick, the first thing, tell it to your Father in prayer.

William Carey, the great missionary, said: Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God. Pray in accordance with the promise of God. Claim the promises by faith.

The Kneeling Christian by an unknown Christian (borrow) Do we realize that there is nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer? His great concern is to keep us from praying. He loves to see us "up to our eyes" in work-- provided we do not pray. He does not fear because we are eager and earnest Bible students--provided we are little in prayer. Someone has wisely said, "Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray." All this is so familiar to us--but do we really pray? If not, then failure must dog our footsteps, whatever signs of apparent success there may be.

Let's Live - Christ in Everyday Life by C. C. Mitchell (borrow) Yes, Christian, God is still in the prayer answering business. Quietly, irresistibly, unassumingly God answers prayer. Often it is answered in such seemingly natural fashion that you do not realize that an actual prayer miracle is taking place.

Paul said, "Be instant in prayer," James said, "You have not because you ask not." Jesus said, "If you ask . . . I will do." Now people, it either works or it doesn't. The Bible is either telling the truth or it isn't.

I challenge you to put God's Word to a simple test and find out for yourself. When a problem arises, when something needs to be done, pray! Instead of doing, ask! Instead of organizing a committee, agonize! I am persuaded that if we had more agonizing and less organizing among the saints, more would be accomplished for God's glory. I know that the human thing to do as situations arise is act, but God says ask, and He will act. I know it doesn't make sense humanly speaking, but God has a way of making good sense out of nonsense. Try it! I'm positive that you will be amazed and pleased. Prayer is where the action is!

Spurgeon - We have all been thinking lately about the Atlantic cable. It is a very interesting attempt to join two worlds together. That cable has had to be sunk into the depths of the sea, in the hope of establishing a union between the two worlds, and now we are disappointed again. But what an infinitely greater wonder has been accomplished. Christ Jesus sank down deep into the woes of man till all God’s waves and billows had gone over him, that he might become the great telegraphic communication between God and poor sinners. Let me say to you, sinner, that there was no failure in the laying down of that blessed cable. It went down deep; the end was well secured, and it went into the depths of our sin and woe; and on the other side it has gone right up to the eternal throne, and is fastened there by God himself. You may work that telegraph today, and you may easily understand the art of working it too. A sigh or a tear will work it. Say, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner,’ and along the wire the message will flash, and will reach God before it comes from you. It is swifter far than earthly telegraphs; and there will come an answer back much sooner than you ever dream of, for it is promised—‘Before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.’ Who ever heard of such a communication as this between man and man? But it really does exist between sinners and God, since Christ has opened up a way from the depths of our sin to the heights of his glory. (Sermon The Great Arbitration Case

Join the Cry

I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 122:6–9

A women’s prayer group in my country holds regular monthly prayer sessions for Ghana and other African countries. When asked why they pray so incessantly for the nations, their leader, Gifty Dadzie, remarked, “Look around, listen to and watch the news. Our nations are hurting: war, disaster, diseases, and violence threaten to overshadow God’s love for humanity and His blessing upon us. We believe God intervenes in the affairs of nations, so we praise Him for His blessings and cry for His intervention.”

The Bible reveals that God indeed intervenes in the affairs of nations (2 Chron. 7:14). And when God intervenes, He uses ordinary people. We may not be assigned huge tasks, but we can play our part to help bring about peace and the righteousness that exalts a nation (Prov. 14:34). We can do that through prayer. The apostle Paul wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1–2).

As the psalmist exhorted the ancient Israelites to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), so may we pray for the peace and healing of our nations. When we pray in humility, turn from wickedness, and seek God, He hears us. By:  Lawrence Darmani (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Lord, we pray today for the peace of our nations. We ask for Your intervention as we turn to You in confession and repentance. We praise You for Your blessing and Your provision.

Prayer for those in authority is both a privilege and a duty.

Over the Edge and Back by Joe White (Borrow) Prayer is like having a cellular telephone in your pocket. The red "hold" button is always blinking. God is always on the other end of the line. Just push "line one" and start talking.

Pray about everything! Pray when you're scared. Pray when you're doing great. Pray when you're failing. Pray when you're noble. Pray when you're selfish. But at all times, pray to your Daddy in heaven who not only is the "All-Sufficient One," but also cares for you beyond your wildest dreams.

The mystery of great, effective prayer opened up for me when a very wise man pointed out in the Bible six hurdles that make prayer ineffective. If you'll keep these six hurdles off the track, you'll understand clearly why your prayers get the answers they do.

1.The first hurdle is found in James 4:3--"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." A selfish purpose in prayer robs prayer of power.

2.The second hurdle is found in Isaiah 59:1-2--"Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that He does not hear." Sin hinders prayer. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me" (Psalm 139:23-24).

3.The third hurdle is found in Ezekiel 14:3--"Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?" Idols in the heart cause God to refuse to listen to our prayers. An idol is anything that is the supreme object of our affection.

4.The fourth hurdle--the lack of unselfish generosity-- is found in Proverbs 21:13--"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered." It is the one who gives generously to others who receives generously from God. "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return" (Luke 6:38).

5.The fifth hurdle is found in Mark 11:25--"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions." An unforgiving spirit is one of the most common hurdles to prayer.

6.The sixth hurdle to prayer is found in James 1:5-7-- "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord." Prayers are hindered by unbelief.

The Body by Charles Colson with Ellen Santilli Vaughn (BORROW) Prayer is the act by which the community of faith surrenders itself, puts aside all other concerns, and comes before God Himself. It brings us, inevitably, as Archbishop William Temple once wrote, "the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose--and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for all that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin."

Purpose in Prayer by E. M. Bounds We do not pray as Elijah prayed. John Foster puts the whole matter to a practical point. "When the Church of God," he says, "is aroused to its obligation and duties and right faith to claim what Christ has [promised--'all things whatsoever'--a revolution will take place."

Do not we rest in our day too much on the arm of flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Do not the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth still to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust in Him? Oh that God would give me more practical faith in Him! Where is now the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him. --James Gilmour of Mongolia

Five-Finger Prayers

Pray for one another. — James 5:16

Today's Scripture: James 5:13-18

Prayer is a conversation with God, not a formula. Yet sometimes we might need to use a “method” to freshen up our prayer time. We can pray the Psalms or other Scriptures (such as The Lord’s Prayer), or use the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). I recently came across this “Five-Finger Prayer” to use as a guide when praying for others:

  1. When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Philippians 1:3-5).
  2. The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
  3. The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you—national and local leaders, and your supervisor at work (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
  4. The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Pray for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5:13-16).
  5. Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness in relation to God’s greatness. Ask Him to supply your needs (Philippians 4:6,19).

Whatever method you use, just talk with your Father. He wants to hear what’s on your heart.  By:  Anne Cetas (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Our prayers ascend to heaven's throne
Regardless of the form we use;
Our Father always hears His own
Regardless of the words we choose.
—D. De Haan

It's not the words we pray that matter, it's the condition of our heart.

F B Meyer - A life is revealed here of which many of us know practically nothing. We do not feel the absolute necessity of being much alone in the presence of God, not so much for ourselves, as for others; and this sad neglect of intercessory prayer, which we all deplore, really points to a lack of the divine life, since if that were mightily within us we should inevitably feel its throb and pulse in this direction. This comes out clearly in the words that follow.

Intercession is necessary that we may know the secrets of a quiet, peaceable, and godly life (1 Timothy 2:2).

Such intercession for others is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:3). And the word translated good might be rendered beautiful.

It is consonant with the Divine purpose, for God wishes to have all men saved (1 Timothy 2:4). If, then, his Spirit is within us, we, too, shall long that men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Our hearts will be filled with a Divine tenderness of yearning which will find vent in strong cryings and tears. It is only thus we can live in harmony with the Divine purpose. One writes “When I think of this, I feel I must pray. Oh, how near it brings to God to pray in the Spirit, and leads me to see that no pressure of duty among men can free us from the absolute need of much prayer.”

Such intercession is in profound union with the mediation of our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5–6). — As the great High Priest, He ever liveth to intercede; and in our little measure we, too, as members of a holy priesthood, must blend our supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks with his (1 Peter 2:5). 

God Can Save Anyone!

Therefore I exhort … that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. —1 Timothy 2:1

Today, as always, there is an urgent need for us to pray for "all who are in authority" (1Timothy 2:2). But does the word all include the most wicked of leaders? Are there ever people in positions of power and influence who are beyond the help of prayer?

The answer to this question can be found by noting the word therefore in verse 1, which calls our attention to the immediate context. In 1Timothy 1:12-17, Paul admitted that he was once a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man (1Ti 1:13). He vigorously affirmed that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Then he added this significant phrase: "of whom I am chief" (1Ti 1:15).

Paul explained that he received God's mercy so that Christ would display His limitless grace in him as a pattern for those who are going to believe on Him in the future (1Ti 1:16). In effect, Paul was saying, "If I, the worst of sinners, can be saved, anyone can." Paul therefore exhorted us to pray for all in authority, because God our Savior desires all to be saved and to embrace His truth (1Ti 2:4).

So let's not only pray that honorable leaders will act wisely, but also that ungodly leaders will be saved. Yes, God can save anyone. —Joanie Yoder (Copyright. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread)

No leader is beyond God's grace
When righteous people pray;
For when God's children intercede,
The Lord will have His way.
—D. De Haan

To influence leaders for God, intercede with God for leaders.

Prayer Evangelism

I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. --1 Timothy 2:1

Over the centuries since Jesus died for our sins and rose victorious from the grave, many methods have been used to spread the gospel. From Peter's first sermon, when 3,000 were saved, to great preaching campaigns of men like Charles Spurgeon and Billy Sunday, to friendship evangelism, many ways of influencing others to accept Jesus' free gift have been tried.

In a major city in the midwest, another method has been launched: prayer evangelism. In the campaign to reach the populace of this city, organizers have set out to pray for every individual. They have divided the city into sections, and all cooperating churches have been assigned the names of the people in those sections.

Of course, it will also take other kinds of contacts, such as literature or face-to-face visits, but prayer is the major component. In 1 Timothy, Paul explained that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:4). And the method suggested for beginning the work of evangelization is "supplications, prayers, intercessions … for all men" (1Ti 2:1).

What about your neighborhood and mine? Let's begin right now to do some prayer evangelism. --J D Brannon (Copyright. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread)

For Whom Can I Pray Today?

Talk to God about people before you talk to people about God.

The Power of Prayer in Evangelism After our son had left home and set out on his own, he visited Mardi Gras in New Orleans with friends. He had been struggling with substance abuse, and my wife, Cari, and I worried about the trip and choices he might make. We prayed for him constantly.

The first night he was there, our phone rang. His number popped up on the caller ID. Our worst fears rushed in. Was he in trouble? Had something happened to him? But when we answered the phone, his voice was clear and cheerful. “Dad,” he said, “the coolest thing just happened. We were walking through the French Quarter and came to one corner where some religious people were holding up signs and shouting at us. We kept on walking. Then we got to the next corner when another group from a church came up to us. They were really nice. They welcomed us and asked if there was anything they could pray for us about. Then we prayed together right there on the street. It was pretty cool. I thought you might like to know.”

Although it would be two years before God set our son free from drug addiction, that night marked a special moment for Cari and me. We caught a glimpse of the power of God to move in our son’s heart and were reminded of something the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). Even when our son was on a prodigal path in “a far country” (Luke 15:13 NKJV), through our prayers, God mercifully met him there in the kindness of others.

Jack Hayford - Praying for Leaders    

    Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2

Since the purpose of God our Savior is that all be saved through the ransom of His Son, Paul urges prayer for all men, especially those in authority. Why? Intercession for governing authorities results in a society where “we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence.” Thus the gospel may be proclaimed more easily and quickly Pax Romana (peace of Rome) characterized the first century and made possible the rapid spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire.

Today, as in the first century, the great need is for peace and tranquility in the world. Therefore, a growing number of believers are learning to intercede by name for the kings, presidents, prime ministers, and rulers in each country. Regional conflicts, social unrest, and political upheavals can be quelled and the gospel spread more rapidly as we faithfully petition, pray, and intercede with thanksgiving for all in authority.
Lord, teach us so to pray that Your desire for the salvation of all men may be advanced in every nation in every country. (BORROW Living the spirit filled life

Charles Stanley - Praying for Leaders

  SCRIPTURE READING: 1 Timothy 2:1–4
  KEY VERSE: Luke 18:1

  Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.

Whether or not the man who leads your country is one you have personally chosen is not the issue. Once a leader is elected or placed in a position of authority, each of us has a responsibility to pray for that individual.

You need to be committed to pray for his personal relationship with Christ and his willingness to seek God’s wisdom for every decision. Pray that your leader would learn to hate evil and love righteousness. Only then can true justice be administered in the maze of government and politics.

Be committed to pray that your leader’s convictions will be based on God’s Word and not preferences founded on the unstable ground of political consensus. Ask God to protect his family, and pray that each family member would be given the opportunity to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Rulers often think they are in control of their country’s circumstances, but God is quick to point out that He is Lord over all. Men and nations are under the control of God and not the House of Representatives, the Senate, Parliament, or any superior court.

You may feel as though your prayers are insignificant, but they are vital links to God’s throne room where eternal decisions are made on a daily basis.

  O God, rulers are under Your authority—every politician, every law enforcement officer, every judge. You are Lord over all. I pray for blessings upon these leaders today. (BORROW Into His presence : an In Touch devotional)

David Jeremiah - Authority - 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (from One Minute a Day)

 When a policeman pulled over a driver for speeding, the man was none too pleased. “Why don’t you people get organized?” the driver said. “Yesterday you took away my driver’s license and today you want to see it!”

 It’s easy to find ourselves perturbed with our public officials—especially when we’re caught doing something wrong. But the Bible has two simple solutions for this dilemma. First, we should view civil authorities as God’s representatives. Second, we should pray regularly for them. I’m always amazed at how hard it is to be mad at someone I’m praying for God to bless.

 We are called by God to obey and respect civil authorities. Be a good citizen and bring glory to God.


On January 20, 1953, the newly sworn-in president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, surprised America by opening his inaugural address with prayer. “My friends,” he said, “before I begin . . . would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own? And I ask that you bow your heads.”

He then prayed, “Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment, my future associates in the executive branch of government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng. . . . Give us . . . the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby.”

Have you prayed today for your national, state, and local leaders? Presidents, prime ministers, and leaders everywhere need our prayers. Our senators, representatives, governors, mayors, and aldermen can be guided and influenced by prayer. Take a page from Eisenhower’s speech, and ask God to give our leaders the ability to discern right from wrong—and to choose the right.


Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:2

“All Rayford felt was an overwhelming hunger and thirst for the Bible and for instruction. He wanted to pray like this from now on, to constantly be in touch with God.” The Indwelling, 72

LET’S CONSIDER for a moment those people who hold positions of authority around us. Regardless of who we are or what we do, we all have “kings” to answer to—people who make rules and decisions that have a marked impact on our life.

Our state and national leaders come to mind first, beginning with our country’s president, and including elected and appointed officials. Our city and county leaders qualify, as well as those who enforce the laws—judges, police officers, and the like. The pastors and elders of my church hold positions of authority. Scripture clearly confirms that I am to submit to their leadership (see Hebrews 13:17). Many of us have a boss at work that we answer to. Although I am a grown man with a family of my own, I still submit to the authority of my parents. Scripture commands me to “honor” my father and mother, and I do so by seeking their counsel and wisdom—by acknowledging their headship in the family.

There is a reason Paul commands us to consistently pray for all of these people. The decisions they make have a direct, sometimes lasting, impact on our life. When the leaders of my country make good decisions, my life goes better. When the laws they pass are sound and just, my family sleeps better at night. When my church leaders make godly, spirit-directed decisions, my soul is in better hands. When my boss makes wise choices, the company grows and my job is secure. When my parents handle their affairs well and stay in God’s will, I can depend on the counsel they give to be solid and sound. The strength of their character will affect our family for generations to come, so I fervently pray that God will grant them wisdom and godliness in all they say and do.

We pray for those in authority over us because it helps us live in “peace and quietness.” And because it develops within us the traits of “godliness and dignity.” In many ways these simple qualities sum up the whole of our Christian witness on earth.

We are called to be peaceful people—to be at peace with God, with our salvation, with our situation on earth, and with those around us. And we are to live holy and dignified lives—to “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12, NIV). It is through consistent and deliberate prayer—for others, as well as ourselves—that these qualities are obtained.

What should be our primary thought and purpose when we pray for leaders (see 1 Timothy 2:4)? How should this change the way we view our prayers of intercession? (BORROW Embracing eternity : living each day with a heart toward heaven

Cues for Prayer

       "I urge, then, first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior," who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."—1 Timothy 2:1-4

In northern Italy in A.D. 610 a pious monk rolled pencil-thin dough and twisted it into figures representing children folding their arms in prayer. The pretzel was a tasty reminder for children to pray.

In the 1800s, Dr. J. H. Jowett asked a servant girl how she prayed for others. She replied that she read the newspaper and first prayed for all the little babies that were listed in the birth announcements column. She prayed that they would be led to the Savior at an early age and become a blessing to their patents. She then prayed for the marriages announced in the wedding section, praying that the couples would have a happy marriage and build their homes centered on Christ. Then she turned to the obituary column and prayed for the loved ones left behind that they would turn to the Lord for their source of comfort.

Here is a handy prayer schedule: Monday—pray for missionaries; Tuesday—tasks that need to be done; Wednesday workers in the local church; Thursday—thanks to the Lord; Friday—family; Saturday—saints and other Christians' needs; Sunday—salvation for nonbelievers.

No matter what method or practice you choose, prayer is a vital part of every Christian's life. How is your prayer life? Ask the Lord for the grace for daily prayer.

"Seven days without prayer makes one weak."—Allen E. Bartlett

1 Timothy 2:1-6 TODAY IN THE WORD O Lord, You lover of souls, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, I bring before You in my prayers all those who are lonely in this world. Yours they are, and none can pluck them out of Your hand… For Your love’s sake. Amen.–Little Book of Prayers

When we say to people, 'I will pray for you,’ we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern. Intercessory prayer–prayer for others–is an important commitment and a profound way to love.

The greatest model of intercession we have is Jesus. Today’s passage from John shows us that He prayed for us during His time on earth, and Hebrews 7:25 says that He always lives to intercede for us. We also have the Holy Spirit, who intercedes for us, translating our wordless prayers into petitions according to God’s will (Ro 8:26–27).

Intercessory prayer is vital for unity in the Body. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses.

APPLY THE WORD Today’s passage from Timothy urges prayer for everyone–that’s pretty inclusive! Tomorrow we will discuss prayer for those in authority; today we focus on individuals in our lives. Lists can be quite helpful for intercession, either to record petitions or to ensure that you don’t overlook individuals you wish to support in prayer, such as neighbors and coworkers. If you have children, ask them to make their own prayer lists for their friends and others in their lives. Also, many churches list prayer needs in the weekly bulletin or keep track of prayer requests in the church office. Consider bringing these petitions to the Lord as a family.

1 TIMOTHY 2:1–2—Does Paul’s exhortation to pray for kings and others include those who are dead?

MISINTERPRETATION: Some Catholic scholars appeal to 1 Timothy 2:1 to support their dogma of praying for the dead. Paul said, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (NIV). Does this include those who are dead?

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION: This passage does not envision prayers for the dead. Paul urged believers to pray for the living, namely, “for Kings and for all those [who are] in authority” (v. 2, insert added) at the present. There is absolutely nothing here to imply that he includes the dead. The Bible elsewhere condemns praying for the dead. See comments on 2 Timothy 1:18.(Norman Geisler - When Cultists Ask

PRAYER INSTRUCTIONS 1 Timothy 2:1 (John Butler - Sermon Starters)

Paul gives some good instructions about prayer in this text.


“I exhort … first of all.” After the introduction of this epistle, which takes in the first chapter, Paul begins the second chapter of this epistle by calling Timothy to prayer. We note two things about this call.

• The passion in the call. “I exhort.” Paul is earnest about this call to prayer. Paul believed in prayer and was earnest in his appeal to Timothy to pray. We need to be more earnest in our prayer life. Most of us pray rather perfunctory instead of earnestly.
• The priority in the call. “First of all.” When you get up in the morning remember this text “first of all.” If we prayed more we would see things go a lot better than they do. Prayer is bringing God in on our life. Before we do anything “first of all” let us pray.


“Therefore.” What prompted this call to pray? For that answer one will have to look at the first chapter of this epistle of which “therefore” is a pointed reference. The first chapter covered the problem of false doctrine, and that certainly requires prayer to deal with successfully. The first chapter also spoke of the Gospel and of the call to the ministry and the enemies of the ministry. There is plenty for which to pray for in the first chapter. The importance of prayer is seen in the “therefore.” These issues discussed in the first chapter require prayer in order to be dealt with successfully.


“Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” In these four petitions is the character of prayer.

• The petitions in prayer. “Supplications.” This word speaks of petitions. Prayer is more than just petitions, but it does include many petitions. It is man crying out for help from God.
• The person for prayer. “Prayers.” This word in its meaning speaks of the Person to Whom we pray, namely, to God. There is never a hint of any kind in Paul’s writings that we should pray to anyone but the Lord. Praying to Mary is not a Biblical doctrine. It is false teaching at its best. Supplications speaks of petitions, prayer speaks of the person to whom we make the petitions.
• The people for prayer. “Intercessions.” This is praying for others. such as, “all men” which is detailed in the following verses. We need to pray for “all men” not prey on “all men” as many do.
• The praise in prayer. “Giving of thanks.” We praise God when we give thanks to him. Every prayer should include thanksgiving. If we are short on gratitude, God will be short on helping us. Lack of thanksgiving can hurt your prayer effectiveness.


In Isaiah 59:16 we read that the Lord “wondered that there was no intercessor.” He wondered at the folly and unbelief of His people, in neglecting this most effective means of blessing. This is a privilege within the reach of every child of God, a sphere of service open to every believer to make intercession.

I. Its Importance. “I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions be made” (v. 1).

Here this holy exercise gets the first place in his exhortations. It is possible that an intercessor’s reward may be greater than a preacher’s. Samuel knew how this honoured the Lord when he declared: “As for me, God forbid that I should sin against Jehovah by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23). Prayerlessness is not only a sin against our own souls, but our fellowmen, and against God.

II. Its Scope. “For all men and for all in authority” (vv. 1, 2).

If ye know not what to pray for as ye ought, here at least is a wide field for its operation. Those of the Captivity were exhorted to “seek the peace of the city wherever they were, and to pray unto the Lord for it” (Jer. 29:7). Our modern cities are in desperate need of intercessors, and perhaps our modern Churches not less. In praying for “all men,” don’t forget the all in your own home, all in your fellowship, city, and nation. Remember the great ALL for whom Christ died.

III. Its Incentives.

As an encouragement for intercession, think of—

1. THE WILL OF GOD. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (v. 4). By His own power God could save all men whether they will or not. But in grace He is willing to save all that come unto the knowledge of the truth. In praying for “all men” we are in line with the Divine will, and helping the fulfilment of His purpose.

2. THE RANSOM PRICE. “Christ gave Himself a ransom for all” (v. 6). There is ample provision in the death of Christ, and in the will of the Father for the salvation of all men. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

3. THE MEDIATOR. “There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Chirst Jesus” (v. 5). What an incentive to prayer this is, when we realise that the Eternal Son of God in the likeness of men is our Mediator before the throne, and He ever liveth to make intercession.

Ponder also—

IV. The Examples set before us.

  • Abraham interceded for the doomed city of Sodom (Gen. 18:24),
  • Moses on the hill top with uplifted hands silently pleading for victory (Exod. 17),
  • Elijah praying for a Divine manifestation that the nation might be rescued from idolatry (1 Kings 18:37),
  • Job in midst of his sorrow and sufferings making intercession for his mistaken friends (Job 42:10).
  • Think also of “the Man of Sorrows,” who was wounded and bruised for our iniquities, yet He made intercession for the transgressors (Isa. 53:12), and His last prayer on earth was for His murderers. “Father, forgive them.” Well may we pray. “Lord, teach us to pray.”

    The need for intercessors is a great and growing need, for the harvest is plenteous, but the divinely equipped labourers are few. Pray ye therefore (Matt. 9:37, 38).

Related Resources: 

1 Timothy 2:2  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Barclay - Pray for kings and for all who are in authority, that they may enjoy a life that is tranquil and undisturbed, and that they may act in all godliness and reverence. 

BGT  1 Timothy 2:2 ὑπὲρ βασιλέων καὶ πάντων τῶν ἐν ὑπεροχῇ ὄντων, ἵνα ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγωμεν ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

NET  1 Timothy 2:2 even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings, and all who are in authority, that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead in all piety and gravity,

MIT  1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all officials, that we might lead a tranquil and serene life in complete godly living and dignity.

  • kings: Ezr 6:10 Ne 1:11 Ps 20:1-4 Ps 72:1 Jer 29:7 
  • all: Ro 13:1-7 1Pe 2:13 
  • so that: Ge 49:14,15 2Sa 20:19 Pr 24:21 Ec 3:12,13 8:2-5 Ro 12:18 1Th 4:11 Heb 12:14 
  • all godliness: Lu 1:6 2:25 Ac 10:22 24:16 Php 4:8 Titus 2:10-14 1Pe 2:9-13 2Pe 1:3-7 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. 


The apostle in verse 1 has said that these prayers should "be made on behalf of all men." Now in verse 2 he gets specific.

For kings (basileus) and all who are in authority (huperoche - "in a high place") - Paul now expands the call of prayer for all men in verse 1 to include those men who have been placed in authority positions. At this time in history, Nero was the emperor, so Paul is saying even pray for "nasty" Nero! (cf 1Ti 2:1b - "thanksgivings" for Nero!!!) Believers are to be loyal to their government unless the government calls on one to disobey God. Even when we cannot respect the men in authority, we have to respect the office of their authority for as Paul explained "there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (Ro 13:2). And practically speaking believers are not to just pray for their leaders to be wise but to be granted repentance and knowledge leading the leaders to salvation! 

Danny Akin - This is evangelistic praying. This is Great Commission praying. This is not prayer as usual in most of our churches! Paul is recruiting the prayers of believers for the salvation of the nations and those who lead those nations! Remember: the emperor was Nero! It does not matter who our leaders are. We are to pray for them. Prayer will be at the heart of a Great Commission Resurgence. E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer and missions are bosom companions.” It will take us beyond parochialism and nationalism, it will get us out of our forts and bomb shelters. We are to pray for our country and every country, our culture and every culture, our leaders and every leader. Spurgeon said, “We do not know what God may do for us if we would but pray” (Revival Year Sermons). I believe this is true of our nation. I believe it is true for our world.

Times of political and social upheaval are excellent times in which to die for Christ,
but hard times in which to live for Him.
-- Duane Litfin

As Peter boldly declared to the Jewish rulers (who could have made life very difficult for Peter) when given orders not to proclaim the good news of Jesus, declared "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:28,29+)

And I searched for a man among them who
should build up the wall and stand in the gap
before Me for the land, that I should not destroy
it; but I found no one.

Ezekiel 22:30

John Piper - “If you want your prayers to do the most good for the greatest number of people, be sure to include in your prayers those persons whose decisions create the conditions in which the purposes of the gospel prosper. It is important to pray for leaders because the conditions they create either advance or impede the gospel” (Pray for Kings and All in High Positions)

Barnes says: The meaning here is, that while all men should be the subjects of prayer, those should be particularly remembered before the throne of grace who are in authority. The reason is, that so much depends on their character and plans; that the security of life, liberty, and property depends so much on them. God has power to influence their hearts, and to incline them to what is just and equal; and hence we should pray that a divine influence may descend upon them. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Guy King says: There is no doubt that, by the mighty ministry of intercession, we can all of us help to strengthen and to sweeten, the life of the nation,

Lange says: There is in intercession for others the purest exercise of love for others.--One of the best and most valuable kinds of tax which we owe and may pay to our rulers, is to pray for them, and to thank God heartily for the good we receive through them.--Anton: Prayer is a real Noah's ark, in which we may shut ourselves amidst threatening floods.--We cannot else pass through the tossing world.

J. Vernon McGee says: We need to pray for our country, and we need to pray for those who have authority over us. If you are a Republican and a Democrat is in office, pray for him. If you are a Democrat and a Republican is in office, pray for him. "For kings." Paul says we are to pray for the kings who rule. You may ask, "Yes, but are we to pray when the government is a corrupt one?" Paul is saying we are to pray even if it's a corrupt government. We are to pray for whoever is in power. Remember that the man who was in power in Rome when Paul wrote was bloody Nero, yet he says we are to pray for kings, whoever they are.

Hendriksen says: In explanation of the expression "in behalf of all men" the apostle continues: in behalf of kings and all who are in high position. How necessary, this admonition! Even today! The apostle is probably thinking, first of all, of sovereign rulers of states, as they succeed one another in the course of history; and of all other functionaries subject to them. He must have had in mind the then-reigning emperor Nero, and further: the proconsuls, Asiarchs), the town-clerk (a rather influential position), etc.

Litfin comments that "With Nero’s growing resentment toward Christians—which came to full bloom after the fire in Rome in July, A.D. 64—and the general disintegration of the Roman Empire due to Nero’s profligacy, Christians began to suffer persecution from the Roman authorities. Having recently been released from his Roman imprisonment, Paul was greatly aware of the deteriorating political atmosphere. Thus he urged prayer for the salvation of all men, but especially rulers, so that the stable, non-interfering environment of previous days might be recovered." (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

How necessary, this admonition! Even today!
-- William Hendriksen

An early church father Tertullian wrote "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.”

MacArthur points out that "Because ancient (and modern) rulers are so often tyrannical, and even disrespectful of the Lord and His people, they are targets of bitterness and animosity. They are also remote, not part of the everyday lives of believers. Hence there is a tendency to be indifferent toward them. Such neglect is a serious sin because of the authority and responsibility leaders have....If the church today took the time and energy it spends on political maneuvering and lobbying and poured them into intercessory prayer, we might see a profound impact on our nation. We have all too often forgotten that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2Co 10:4). The key to changing a nation is the salvation of sinners, and that calls for faithful prayer. (See 1 Timothy Commentary)

Prayer is international, cosmopolitan, and yet patriotic in the highest sense.
-- R C H Lenski

Steven Cole on all who are in authority - In his case, this included the cruel maniac, Nero, who later executed both Peter and Paul, who lit his gardens in the evenings with Christians covered with pitch, burned as human torches. And yet Paul does not call Christians to political revolution, but to prayer. Prayer is God’s means for removing tyrants and establishing peace. Thus the plan of God involves all kinds of prayer for all kinds of people. (The Priority of Prayer)

J Vernon McGee on praying for kings, etc - To bring this up-to-date, he is saying the Democrats ought to pray for the Republicans, and the Republicans ought to pray for the Democrats. Many years ago a famous chaplain of the Senate was asked by a visitor, "Do you pray for the senators?" He replied, "No, I look at the senators, and then I pray for the country!" That is exactly what Paul says we need to do. We need to pray for our country, and we need to pray for those who have authority over us. If you are a Republican and a Democrat is in office, pray for him. If you are a Democrat and a Republican is in office, pray for him. You may ask, "Yes, but are we to pray when the government is a corrupt one?" Paul is saying we are to pray even if it's a corrupt government. We are to pray for whoever is in power. Remember that the man who was in power in Rome when Paul wrote was bloody Nero, yet he says we are to pray for kings, whoever they are. Any government is better than no government. Some people may question that, but an evil, corrupt government, if it really governs, is better than anarchy. Civil government is a gift from God, and we ought to give thanks for it and pray for it. Many of us fall short of praying for our government in order that we might continue to live quietly and peaceably (THOUGHT - ARE YOU AS CONVICTED AS I AM - I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO PRAY FOR AUTHORITIES WHEN THEY EXPRESS SUCH CONTEMPT FOR GOD, BUT GOD SAYS PRAY!) 

Donald Guthrie - The Christian attitude towards the State is of utmost importance. Whether the civil authorities are perverted or not they must be made the subjects for prayer, for Christian citizens may in this way influence the course of national affairs, a fact often forgotten except in times of special crisis. (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

Hiebert - Because men live in national groupings, the church must also pray “for kings and all that are in high place.” Prayer is to be not only world-wide but also national and patriotic. “Kings” as leaders of the nations are a special class needing such prayer. This is highly important because the type of government men live under profoundly influences their lives and affects their spiritual welfare. The prayer is not to be limited to the supreme rulers but is to include all who have dignity or elevation of public office. The attitude of these minor officials may often have a more direct bearing on the local congregation than that of the supreme rulers. (BORROW First Timothy)

So that (hina) introduces a purpose clause, which is always an excellent opportunity to ask "What is the purpose?" In this case, the answer is straightforward, isn't it? Pray is to be a priority and to include government officials which leads to peace. It is interesting that Paul does not describe the content of their prayers, but the purpose.

Guthrie says: The purpose, rather than the content, of such prayer is now stated. That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life means that government may achieve conditions of peace and security, enabling the Christian and his fellow-men to pursue their own lives. The twin synonyms eremos (quiet) and hesuchios (peaceable) both mean 'quiet' and 'tranquil' and seem to be linked here to emphasize the importance of calmness and serenity in social affairs.

We may lead a tranquil (eremos) and quiet (hesuchios) life (bios) in all godliness (eusebeia) and dignity (semnotes) - The purpose of prayer for government leaders is for our own personal good, so that we might experience peace and calm. Note that purpose of praying for all men is not just a peaceable environment but a godly, decent life (that can be maximized in a calm atmosphere) which serves as a good witness to the lost. Notice the all applies to godliness and dignity. Both attributes are to be fully pursued and practiced. Godliness speaks of the vertical aspect of our lives (reverent toward God) and dignity speaks more of the horizontal aspect before men which "denotes that decent and becoming deportment which commands the respect of others." (Hiebert BORROW First Timothy) And in the context of discussion of the salvation of all men (1Ti 2:3-4) such behavior by followers of Christ would be an attractive feature to those who need salvation. 

Wiersbe says "“Quiet” (eremos)  refers to circumstances around us, while “peaceful” (hesuchios) refers to a calm attitude within us. The results should be lives that are godly and honorable." (See Be Faithful: It's Always Too Soon to Quit!)

Lenski on all godliness and dignity, the first referring to "the right reverencing of God, inward and thus also outward—the other, dignified and worthy conduct toward our fellow men.

Vine says godliness "denotes that piety which, ever acting in a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to God." Vine says dignity speaks "of gravity combined with dignity, with freedom alike from moroseness and from levity. A life which exhibits these qualities gives a consistent witness to the person and name of Christ, and to the truth and validity of the gospel." 

Hendriksen adds "Of course, this merely “hints” at the real purpose of praying for the rulers. Paul certainly does not mean to encourage a life of ease. His aims are never selfish. Rather, the idea is this: freedom from disturbances, such as wars and persecutions, will facilitate the spread of the gospel of salvation in Christ to the glory of God. One must read the present passage in the light of the immediately following context (verses 3 and 4), of other passages from the Pastorals (1 Tim. 1:15; 4:16), and of passages from Paul’s other epistles (1 Cor. 9:22; 10:31)." (New Testament Commentary)

Utley on “so that they may lead a tranquil and quiet life” - This seems to mean “peaceful” in the sense of “free of outward trials” and “quiet” in the sense of “free from inner turmoils.” Believers must exercise their faith by calm living, which is so difficult in times of distress and confusion. 

THOUGHT - Do I pray for my government leaders, even when I see them making godless decisions? 

Steven Cole - GOD’S PLAN INVOLVES THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL SO THAT ALL MAY BE SAVED. That, I take it, is Paul’s train of thought between 1 Ti 2:2 and 1Ti 2:3-4. We should pray that those in authority would govern so that we might enjoy a tranquil and quiet life. But the purpose for such a life is not that we might be comfortable and happy, but so that we can grow in “godliness and dignity” with a view toward the maximum spread of the gospel. Both words, “godliness and dignity,” point to the outward manifestation of Christian virtues. Paul is concerned here with the testimony of God’s people. Under persecution, some professing Christians cave in. In times of peace, there is more opportunity for their good deeds to be seen. So the idea is that we should pray for political peace so that we can live in observable godliness so that lost people will be saved.

ILLUSTRATION OF POWER OF PRAYER - In fact, prayer brought down the Berlin Wall. In May 1989 at Leipzig, in the historic Nicolai Kirche (St. Nicholas Church) where the Reformation had been introduced exactly 450 years earlier, a small group began to meet in one of the church’s rooms to read the Sermon on the Mount and pray for peace. The group expanded and moved to a larger room and finally began to meet in the church’s nave, which began to fill up. Alarmed, the Communist authorities sent officials to attend. They threatened the gatherers and temporarily jailed some. On prayer nights they blocked the city’s nearest Autobahn off-ramp. Then on October 9, 1989, some 2,000 individuals crowded in to pray for peace, and another 10,000 gathered outside. And soon the Berlin Wall came down. Coincidence? No. This was the kind response of a caring, all-powerful God to the prayers of his people. Think what would happen to the witness and power of the church if a great mass of Christians began to pray for everyone with unified passion and focus! Mighty walls of unbelief would fall, and personal witness would penetrate strongholds with incredible power. Lifesaving stations would rescue the perishing. (See R Kent Hughes - 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

Rick Renner (Click for full discussion) - Praying for Those in Authority—1 Timothy 2:1–3

Excerpt - Even if we don’t like the way things are going in our government, we must obey the apostle Paul’s exhortation in First Timothy 2:1–3 to pray for our governmental leaders. Before you dismiss Paul’s instructions to pray for those in authority as too simplistic, remember that he lived at a time of grossly immoral governmental leadership and that he ultimately was martyred by Nero—the very “king” he asked people to pray for! In First Timothy 2:1–3, Paul declared, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.…”

Paul gave us six prayer commands in these verses that God expects us to obey—regardless of who is calling the shots politically. In this passage of Scripture, he clearly defined guidelines for us to follow when we pray. Rather than rush to God with accusations, complaints, grumbling, protestations, and whining, we are to follow the positive approach in prayer Paul provided. He began by saying, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications.…” (Click for full discussion)

What’s More Important Than Voting? Joe Stowell

Don’t forget to vote!

We have all heard that call to good citizenship. But beyond being a good citizen, being a good follower of Jesus means that we don’t forget to pray for our leaders. When we do pray, it just may make a difference in our own lives!

I don’t know how you feel about the people in authority over you, but if you’re like me, praying for them may not be your first impulse. There are plenty of leaders I would rather vote out of office than pray for! Yet according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we are to include them on our prayer list on a regular basis. We may not have “kings” who rule over us, but all of us can name people who qualify as “those in authority”—government officials, police officers, supervisors, parents, teachers, and a host of others who can pull rank on us.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to pray for them, especially if we don’t know them personally. But we can start by praying for what they need. Every leader could use an extra dose of God’s wisdom for the challenges and decisions they face. In addition to wisdom, we should pray for integrity—for honesty and uprightness in their actions and freedom from deceit. Pray that they would have a genuine commitment to doing what is best for those who are under their authority. Ask God to give them humility that will enable them to use their power not for their own gain but for the good of the people. Pray that godly people will be in their circle of influence. Pray that they will come to know Christ as Savior.

But our text alerts us to the fact that praying for those in authority is not the end of the line. We ourselves are standing in the need of prayer as well.

First, we are called to pray for “peaceful and quiet lives” that are marked by “godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). If we pray for our leaders and pursue these character qualities in our own lives, we just might make some progress—and in turn make a marked difference on our society and on our leaders as well.

Second, when we pray for those in authority over us, it serves to remind us that they are under God’s authority. And, just as they are under God’s authority, so must our lives be under His authority as well. When we are irritated that others don’t lead as people under the authority of His righteousness, we should think about how He must feel when we don’t live under His authority in the choices we make and attitudes we express. And remembering that He is the ultimate ruler reminds us that our hope is not in earthly “kings” but in the King of kings, who alone has power and authority over even the most powerful rulers.

Connect the dots! When we recognize that Jesus is the only One who can make a difference in the lives of our leaders, it should stir our hearts to pray for them.

And, as we pray for them, our hearts just may be stirred to focus on the needs of our own lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, through prayer, Jesus would change the hearts of those leaders? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if, through prayer, Jesus would change your heart and my heart? So, don’t forget to vote. And, more importantly, don’t forget to pray!


Make a list of the leaders in your life. Ask the Lord to reveal some prayer points for those people, and commit to praying for them on a regular basis.

As a result of his bold witness for Christ, Paul had significant interaction with those in authority over him. Read the book of Acts chapters 22–26, and learn from Paul’s example.

What was the exchange between Paul and King Agrippa in Acts 26:28-29? Have you ever prayed for your leaders like that?

Look for some ways to actively demonstrate your prayer support for leaders. Organizations such as the National Day of Prayer (www.ndptf.org) can help you get started.

1 Timothy 2:2 The Lord wants us to pray for all nations, and for kings and for all in authority (1Ti 2:2). We can exercise knee-based influence over leaders whom we may never meet. Here's an example: Prince Edward VII of England was well known for his drinking and immorality. When his mother, Queen Victoria, died in 1901, Edward assumed the throne at age fifty-nine and reigned for nine years. In 1910, a prayer warrior named Joe Evans was vacationing in the New York mountains, away from newspapers and interruptions. One morning he felt a burden to intercede for Edward, and the burden became so intense he anguished in prayer for the king's conversion. The following day came the news, "Edward is dead." Years later, Joe shared dinner with Dr. J. Gregory Mantle of England. Dr. Mantle said, "Joe, did you know that Edward VII was saved on his deathbed?" He went on to explain: "The king was in France when he was taken ill. He was brought to England and there was hope that he might recover. However, there came a turn for the worse. At that time, His Majesty called one of his lords-in-waiting and ordered him to go to Paternoster Row and secure for him a copy of a tract that his mother, Queen Victoria, had given to him when he was a lad. It was entitled "The Sinner's Friend." After much searching, the lord-in-waiting found the tract, brought it to His Majesty, and upon reading it, King Edward VII made earnest repentance and received the Lord Jesus as his Savior."  (My All in All - Robert J Morgan)

Better Times Ahead

[Pray] for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. —1 Timothy 2:2

Paul lived in the Roman Empire under the rule of the cruel and ruthless Nero. Yet he saw the possibility of better times ahead. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have exhorted the first-century Christians to pray for "a quiet and peaceable life" (1Timothy 2:2).

If Paul were living today, I don't think he would be pleased when Christians paint a totally dark picture of the future. Although some governments do repress their citizens, think of what's happened. Since the Berlin Wall came down, new winds of freedom have been blowing in the world. And even though immorality and broken homes are still a terrible blight, many people seem to be returning to the values of marital fidelity.

I believe that the only real hope for the world is the return of Jesus Christ. I don't know when the Lord will come, but while I wait I'll continue witnessing for Him and praying for a great revival. I'll be asking the Lord to lead the nations into paths of peace and prosperity. I'll be doing what I can to help people who are struggling in dire poverty. I'll vote for leaders who uphold moral values.

We must not withdraw from the world but do what we can to make it a better place to live. God is in control. We can't lose. Let's be optimistic! —H V Lugt  (Copyright. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread)

Keep me ever watching, Master,
That no fear my faith may shake;
Working, praying, hoping, longing,
Till the joyful morn shall break.

The future is as bright as the promises of God.

Prayer And Politics

[Pray] for all men, for kings and all who are in authority. . --1 Timothy 2:1-2

In 1787 a convention was called in the United States to revise the Articles of Confederation. For weeks delegates reviewed ancient history and analyzed modern governments, searching for insights. But nothing suited the infant nation.

Finally, a distinguished gentleman named Benjamin Franklin rose and said, "In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth and scarce able to distinguish it when it is presented to us, how has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?" Mr. Franklin believed there was a sovereign God who could provide guidance to those who sought it.

If ever there was a time to follow that prayerful example, it is now. Paul said that governments are ordained of God (Ro 13:1), and that we are to pray for those in authority over us (1Ti 2:1, 2). This prayer principle also applies to the election of our leaders. We must become informed and vote prayerfully for those who shape our laws.

Because God has instructed us to do so, we can--indeed we must--unashamedly and boldly mix prayer with our politics. --D J De Haan (Copyright. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread)

In God we trust, let others trust their rulers,
We trust in God to save us from alarm;
Like broken reeds, the works of man will fail us,
Our God alone can keep us from all harm.

Whatever makes men good Christians
makes them good citizens.


Spurgeon - I have heard of a man who knew how to swim, but, as he had never been in the water, I do not think much of his knowledge of swimming: in fact, he did not really know the art. I have heard of a botanist who understood all about flowers, but as he lived in London, and scarcely ever saw above one poor withered thing in a flowerpot, I do not think much of his botany. I have heard of a man who was a very great astronomer, but he had not a telescope, and I never thought much of his astronomy. So there are many persons who think they know and yet do not know because they have never had any personal acquaintance with the thing. A mere notional knowledge or a dry doctrinal knowledge is of no avail. We must know the truth in a very different way from that. How are we to know it, then? Well, we are to know it, first, by a believing knowledge. You do not know a thing unless you believe it to be really so. If you doubt it, you do not know it. If you say, ‘I really am not sure it is true,’ then you cannot say that you know it. That which the Lord has revealed in Holy Scripture you must devoutly believe to be true. In addition to this, your knowledge, if it becomes believing knowledge, must be personal knowledge, a persuasion that it is true in reference to yourself. It is true about your neighbour, about your brother, but you must believe it about yourself, or your knowledge is vain; for instance, you must know that you are lost, that you are in danger of eternal destruction from the presence of God, that for you there is no hope but in Christ, that for you there is hope if you rest in Christ, that resting in Christ you are saved. Yes, you. You must know that because you have trusted in Christ you are saved, and that now you are free from condemnation, and that now in you the new life has begun. (Full sermon Salvation by Knowing the Truth)

ILLUSTRATION OF POWER OF PRAYER -  "Even those who will not allow you to speak to them about God, cannot prevent you speaking to God about them. What mighty conquests have been won this way-Hudson, a young schoolboy, reading tracts in his father's study one Sunday afternoon while his parents were away for the weekend; his mother constrained, where she was, to pray specially for her boy, who was called that very afternoon, miles away, to the Savior, and to become the great Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission. Reuben, a dissolute young man who has left home, has one night got out of bed to commit suicide; his mother, miles away, has that very hour been constrained also to get out of bed, and to pray specially for her erring son, who, instead of suicide, was saved, subsequently to become the famous American evangelist, Dr. R. A. Torrey." (Guy King)

Faithful Prayer

[Pray] for kings and all who are in authority. —1 Timothy 2:2

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-7

In June 2009, 95-year-old Emma Gray died. For over two decades, she had been the cleaning lady in a big house. Each night as she did her work, she prayed for blessings, wisdom, and safety for the man she worked for.

Although Emma worked in the same place for 24 years, the occupants of the residence changed every 4 years or so. Over the years, Emma offered her nightly prayers for six US Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter.

Emma had her personal favorites, but she prayed for them all. She followed the instruction we read in 1 Timothy 2 to pray for “all who are in authority” (v.2). The verses go on to speak of how living “a quiet and peaceable life” and being a godly and reverent person “is good and acceptable in the sight of God . . . who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (vv.2-4).

Because God “hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov. 15:29), who knows how He used Emma’s faithful prayers? In Proverbs 21:1, we read: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Like Emma, we are to pray for our leaders. Is there someone God is calling you to pray for today?  Cindy Hess Kasper (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

No leader is beyond God’s grace
When righteous people pray;
For when God’s children intercede,
The Lord will have His way.
—D. De Haan

To influence leaders for God, intercede with God for leaders.

ILLUSTRATION OF SIX ANCIENT PRAYERS FOR THEIR LEADERS - Chuck Swindoll has an interesting list of prayers in the early church for their leaders..."Amazingly, the church has been faithful to pray for its pagan leaders, even during times of terrible persecution. Take note of these quotes from church fathers living in difficult times:

To our rulers and governors on the earth—to them Thou, Lord, gavest the power of the kingdom by Thy glorious and ineffable might, to the end that we may know the glory and honour given to them by Thee and be subject to them, in nought resisting Thy will; to them, Lord, give health, peace, concord, stability, that they may exercise the authority given to them without offence. - Clement of Rome, ca. AD 96, during the brutal reign of Domitian

Whence to God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment. -- Justin Martyr, AD 110–165, written to Emperor Antoninus Pius, and also addressed to “Verissimus the Philosopher,” a.k.a. Marcus Aurelius, under whom Justin suffered martyrdom

Does the sovereign order the payment of tribute, I am ready to render it. Does my master command me to act as a bondsman and to serve, I acknowledge the serfdom. Man is to be honoured as a fellow-man; God alone is to be feared. -- Tatian, AD 110–172, around the time of Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor

Wherefore I will rather honour the king [than your gods], not, indeed, worshipping him, but praying for him. But God, the living and true God, I worship, knowing that the king is made by Him. You will say, then, to me, “Why do you not worship the king?” Because he is not made to be worshipped, but to be reverenced with lawful honour, for he is not a god, but a man appointed by God, not to be worshipped, but to judge justly. For in a kind of way his government is committed to him by God.… Accordingly, honour the king, be subject to him, and pray for him with loyal mind; for if you do this, you do the will of God. --  Theophilus, ca. AD 181, shortly after the death of Marcus Aurelius, during the reign of his notoriously capricious and corrupt son, Commodus

Without ceasing, for all our emperors we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged; for security to the empire; for protection to the imperial house; for brave armies, a faithful senate, a virtuous people, the world at rest, whatever, as man or Caesar, an emperor would wish.--  Tertullian, AD 160–225, written during the reign of Septimius Severus, a brutal persecutor of Christians

[Christians] always exult in the Lord, and rejoice and are glad in their God; and the evils and adversities of the world they bravely suffer, because they are looking forward to gifts and prosperities to come.… And yet we always ask for the repulse of enemies, and for obtaining showers, and either for the removal or the moderating of adversity; and we pour forth our prayers, and, propitiating and appeasing God, we entreat constantly and urgently, day and night, for your peace and salvation. -- Cyprian, ca. AD 252, in reply to Demetrianus, the proconsul of Africa, who contended that Christians should be blamed for wars, and famine, and pestilence because they do not worship the gods

Aren’t these remarkable attitudes to have toward those who rule? How do you regard those in political leadership today? Do you spend as much time praying for them as you do criticizing them? Paul expected Timothy to lead his flock in prayer for all who are in authority, even if they rule as enemies of the church. (See Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

King (935basileus occurs throughout Greek literature, including the Septuagint (e.g., Genesis 14:1; Exodus 1:8; Judges 3:8; et al.), with the same meaning, i.e., “a king.” It is used 118 times in the New Testament. It refers to secular rulers such as kings and emperors: Herod (Matthew 2:1), David (Matthew 1:6), Agrippa (Acts 25:13), Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1), and kings in general (1 Timothy 2:2). Basileus refers to divine rulers: God (Matthew 5:35); Christ, as King in general (Luke 23:2), as King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15), as King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2), as King of Israel (Matthew 27:42), and as King of saints (Revelation 15:3).

Authority (5247)(huperoche from huperecho - to hold above, be superior from  huper - above + echo - hold) means literally elevation or prominence (as a natural formation that protrudes or projects) but only figuratively in the NT of excellence, superiority, state of excelling (1Co 2.1) and in the only other NT use meaning a place of prominence describing those who are in authority or in an important position (1Ti 2.2) 

Gilbrant - Classical writers used huperochē to describe the peak of a mountain, the top of a beam, an excess of money, a rank that exceeds another, and the like (Liddell-Scott). In the New Testament huperochē occurs twice. In 1 Corinthians 2:1 Paul used the word with reference to his speech: “I . . . came not with excellency of speech.” The second occurrence of huperochē occurs in 1 Timothy 2:2 where Paul exhorted Timothy that prayer be made “for all that are in authority.” (Complete Biblical Library)

Tranquil (2263)(eremos) means quiet manner of life and used only in 1Ti 2:2. Tranquil means free from commotion or disturbance, free from anxiety, tension, or restlessness and thus compose, steady. This word speaks primarily of the absence of disturbances from without, restfulness unmarred by disturbance. 

Quiet (2272)(hesuchios from hesucho - still, quiet) means well ordered, undisturbed from without. Vine says hēsuchios "suggests the stillness that accompanied restfulness, in contrast to noisy commotion and merely bustling activity." In 1Pe 3:4 it refers to the "quiet spirit" of a godly wife. 1Ti 2:2 is the only other NT use. Used in Isa 66:2. For the desire in the ancient world to live a peaceable life.  Gilbrant - This adjective is used in classical Greek to describe a disposition or character that is “quiet, gentle, still.” These are not merely descriptions of outward appearance but of one’s inner nature or spirit. Its only use in the Septuagint is at Isaiah 66:2 where God described the kind of man that He would look upon with favor. This same meaning is reflected in the only two occurrences of hēsuchios in the New Testament. It was used once by Peter to describe the proper attitude of a godly woman, one who is “of a meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). Paul also used it once to exhort Timothy to pray for those in authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” (1 Timothy 2:2). (Complete Biblical Library)

Godliness (2150eusebeia from eu = well + sebomai = reverence. Sebomai is in turn derived from "seb" which refers to sacred awe or reverence exhibited especially in actions) most literally means "well worship" describing reverence that is well directed. Eusebeia is true religion that displays itself in reverence before what is majestic and divine in worship and in a life of active obedience which befits that reverence. It is a right attitude to God and to God’s holiness, majesty, and love Eusebeia is a term used only of men. It describes the particular manner of life characterized by reverence toward God and respect for the beliefs and practices related to Him. 

Eusebeia - note it is a key word in the Pastoral Epistles - 15v - Acts 3:12; 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:7; 1 Tim. 4:8; 1 Tim. 6:3; 1 Tim. 6:5; 1 Tim. 6:6; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:6; 2 Pet. 1:7; 2 Pet. 3:11

Dignity (4587semnotes from semnos = venerable) refers to decency, gravity, venerableness (calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments; conveying an impression of aged goodness and benevolence), dignity and a seriousness of purpose. Vine correctly notes that semnotes "is a necessary characteristic of the life and conduct of Christians"

Semnotes - 3x - 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:4; Titus 2:7

1 Timothy 2:3  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

Barclay - That is the fine way to live, the way which meets with the approval of God, our Saviour, 

BGT  1 Timothy 2:3 τοῦτο καλὸν καὶ ἀπόδεκτον ἐνώπιον τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ,

KJV  1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

NET  1 Timothy 2:3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior,

CSB  1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior,

ESV  1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

NIV  1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

NLT  1 Timothy 2:3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,

NRS  1 Timothy 2:3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

NJB  1 Timothy 2:3 To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Saviour:

NAB  1 Timothy 2:3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior,

YLT  1 Timothy 2:3 for this is right and acceptable before God our Saviour,

MIT  1 Timothy 2:3 This is a good practice and pleases our savior God,

  • this: 1Ti 5:4 Ro 12:1,2 14:18 Eph 5:9,10 Php 1:11 4:18 Col 1:10 1Th 4:1 Heb 13:16 1Pe 2:5,20 
  • God our Savior: 1Ti 1:1 Isa 45:21 Lu 1:47 2Ti 1:9 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Samuel 22:3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. 

Isaiah 43:3 “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. 

Isaiah 45:21  “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 

Psalm 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, 

1 Timothy 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 

1 Timothy 2:3   This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

Titus 1:3  but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, 

Titus 2:10  not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. 

Titus 3:4  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,

Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Luke 1:47 (MARY A VIRGIN IN NEED OF A SAVIOR SAYS) And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 

2 Timothy 1:9  (God) Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,


This is good (kalos) and acceptable (apodektos "welcomed") in the sight of (enopion - in the face of) God our Savior (soter, cf 1Ti 1:1+) - This in context refers to the persistent prayers for all men ("universal prayer") in 1Ti 2:1 and some add this includes prayer for authorities in 1Ti 2:2. NET renders it "such prayer for all" which would include all men and "kings...". Such prayer is good (kalos - inherently excellent, auspicious, providing special benefit, "beautiful") and acceptable to (apodektos - welcomed by, received kindly be) God, and thus clearly is in the center of His will. God in context would refer to God the Father Who planned salvation to be made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus our Savior. (Our saving God).

God our Savior - 6x/6v - 1 Tim. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:3; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4; Jude 1:25

As an aside it is interesting that Paul uses the connecting words this or these in every chapter of this epistle (1Ti 1:18; 3:14; 4:11, 15; 5:7; 6:2).

Hiebert says: The word good (kalos) means that it is excellent in its nature and characteristics and is well-adapted to its ends. "This practice of praying for all men is a fine thing in itself; it approves itself to the moral sense of mankind." It is good and wholesome in the spirit which it reveals and beneficial in the results that it achieves. (BORROW First Timothy)

Soter was used of God the Father as the source of salvation (cf 1Ti 1:1+) - He Alone is the Deliverer, the Preserver, the Protector, the Healer, the One Who rescues man from danger or peril and into a state of prosperity and blessedness (now and eternally). Soter was used of Jesus Christ as the Agent sent by God to bring deliverance to sinful mankind (Lk 2:11; Jn 4:42, Acts 5:31, Acts 13:23; Ep 5:23; Php 3:20). The Spirit brings about the deliverance in the new birth (Jn 3:5-8+). Clearly, the Holy Trinity is wholly involved in the salvation of unholy sinners. 

As Donald Guthrie says "There is point in praying on behalf of all men to One (God our Savior) whose nature it is to save‚ a thought developed in the next verse." (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles) (ED: And we pray for all for we do not know who of the "all" is of the elect).

Bible Knowledge Commentary says "As in modern times, some in the Ephesian church were prepared to question the validity of a prayer for the salvation of all men. Thus, Paul defended his instructions by pointing out that such a prayer is good and pleases God. Many prayers are unacceptable but not this one."

Danny Akin - Verse 3 is a hinge verse that connects vs. 1-2 with v. 4. Praying for all men, especially world and national leaders, is 1) good (a word used by Paul at least 20 times in the pastorals) and 2) acceptable (HCSB; ESV, “pleasing”; NIV, “pleases”) in the sight (lit. “before”) of God our Savior (lit. “the Savior of us God” cf. 1:1; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4). Why? Verse 4 thunders the answer: “God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Note that to “be saved” equals having “the knowledge of the truth”, the truth that will be clearly and carefully explained in vs. 5-6

MacArthur - Obviously, in some inscrutable sense, God’s desire for the world’s salvation is different from His eternal saving purpose (If God Desires All Men to Be Saved, Why Aren't They?)

Good (2570kalos means good or beautiful, pertaining to what is attractive in outward appearance. It has a basic meaning of healthy, sound, fit, opposite of that which is bad, evil or ugly, deformed. Kalos describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. It describes that which is in accordance to a high level with the purpose of something or someone so that it is good or useful. Kalos is good with emphasis on that which is handsome, excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. 

Acceptable (587)(apodektos from apodechomai - to accept gladly, to welcome) means that which is pleasing, pleasant, accepted with satisfaction. That which can be accepted or "heartily welcomed." Gilbrant - This term, which comes from the verb apodechomai, “to accept, to receive, to welcome,” means “acceptable.” Its use in classical Greek is not well attested, although it does appear in the Hellenistic period (e.g., Philodemus [First Century B.C.]; Liddell-Scott). Apodektos is of interest to scholars because of its curious accenting. In most Greek literature it is accented apo-dek-tos’. But, almost exclusively in the New Testament it is accented apo’-dek-tos. Bauer asserts that the accenting does have a minor effect upon the definition. “Strictly speaking apo-dek-tos’ means acceptable and apo’-dek-tos, pleasing.” Diognetus 8:3 is appealed to as evidence of the former and 1 Timothy 2:3; 5:4 for the latter (Bauer). The term is not found in any of the writings of the Septuagint. Since apodektos appears only at 1 Timothy 2:3 and 5:4, it can only be understood in its normal sense of “pleasing” or “acceptable” (the difference is negligible). Both instances of the term occur in almost identical phrases. Paul wrote to Timothy that it pleased God for him to pray for all men (1Ti 2:1), because He desires that all men be saved (1Ti 2:4; cf. 2:6-8). Likewise, it is pleasing to God for men and women who profess to be disciples to care for their elderly parents (especially widows) who are unable to care for themselves. Actually such care is simply “putting religion into practice” (1 Ti 5:3,4). (Complete Biblical Library)

Savior (4990) soter from sozo = rescue from peril > from saos = safe; delivered) refers to the agent of salvation or deliverance, the one who rescues, delivers, saves and preserves. Anyone who saves or delivers can be called a deliverer or rescuer (a soter). In Luke 2:11+ Jesus is called the Savior -  "today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." "In secular Greek usage the gods are deliverers both as helpers of human beings and as protectors of collective entities (e.g., cities); this is the case with Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux, Heracles, Asclepius as the helper of the sick, and Serapis; it is true also for philosophers (Dio Chrysostom Or. 32.8) and statesmen (Thucydides v.11.1; Plutarch Cor. 11, also in inscriptions and elsewhere). In the Hellenistic ruler cult "theos soter" (god our savior) is attested in writings and inscriptions as a title of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. Inscriptions in the eastern part of the Empire called Pompey “Soter and Founder,” Caesar “Soter of the World,” and Augustus “Soter of Humankind.” Hadrian had the title "Soter of the Kosmos" (Exegetical Dictionary of the NT) Greeks used soter as a title of divinities such as Asclepius, the god of healing. Soter was used by the mystery religions to refer to their divinities. At an early date soter was used as a title of honor for deserving men, e.g., Epicurus (300BC) was called "soter" by his followers. As discussed below, soter was used as a designation of the "deified" ruler, e.g., Ptolemy I Soter (323-285BC).

Soter - 24x - Lk. 1:47; Lk. 2:11; Jn. 4:42; Acts 5:31; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Tim. 1:10; Tit. 1:3; Tit. 1:4; Tit. 2:10; Tit. 2:13; Tit. 3:4; Tit. 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:20; 2 Pet. 3:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:14; Jude 1:25

James Smith - SALVATION FOR ALL 1 TIMOTHY 2:3, 4

1. An Almighty Saviour. “God our Saviour.”
2. An All-embracing Purpose. “Who will have all men to be saved.”
3. An All-important Need. “To come to a knowledge of the truth.”
4. An All-important End. “This is acceptable in the sight of God.”

James Smith -  THE SAVIOUR 1 TIMOTHY 2:3–6

1. The Saviour’s Power. “God our Saviour.”
2. The Saviour’s Purpose. “Who will have all men to be saved.”
3. The Saviour’s Provision. “Gave Himself a ransom for all.”
4. The Saviour’s Position. “Between God and men.”

Make My Life a Prayer

God our Savior … wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Keith Green's song, “Make My Life a Prayer to You” could easily have been inspired by our passage today from 1 Timothy. Both call us to prayer and to godly living: “Make my life a prayer to you / I wanna do what you want me to / No empty words and no white lies / No token prayers, no compromise.”

Keith Green's song focuses on proclaiming the gospel in a credible way, and in our text today Paul talks about prayer and godly living as actions that we can take to spread the news about Jesus.

Our God is God the Savior (v. 3). Verse four reveals that God wants to save men and women. By nature, He is compassionate and rich in mercy. He wants to forgive and reconcile people to Himself. And not only does He want to save but He has made a way for salvation. It's one thing to want something done and quite another to get something done. Our God has done both—desired our salvation and achieved our salvation. Imagine if He wanted our salvation but couldn't make it happen. We would hardly serve Him as the great, sovereign God that He is, holding together the universe by His word (cf. Heb. 1:3). And if He had the power to save us but chose not to do so, we would think Him terribly cruel and unfair. Thankfully, the God we worship is both all loving and all powerful.

Because of God's heart of compassion, our hearts should be equally tender to those who don't yet believe. Paul gave himself completely to the task of evangelism (see 1 Cor. 9). We're instructed here to do two things to further the message of salvation. First, we can pray (v. 1). Then, we can live holy lives, lives that bring credibility to the beauty and truth of this message and the name of Christ (v. 2)


“God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4).

1. The need of man. The need, as brought before us here, is twofold—

1. SALVATION. “Who will have men to be saved.” What must I do to be saved? is the first cry of a spirit-convicted soul. Salvation is man’s first necessity in the sight of God (John 3:17).
2. A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH. Man in his soul must be adjusted with God before he can know and appreciate the truth as it is in Jesus. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17).

2. The character of Christ. “God our Saviour.”

1. HE IS A SAVIOUR. “Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save” His death atones, His resurrection justifies. There is none other Name.
2. HE IS GOD. “God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor 5:19). As God He is mighty to save.

3. The will of God. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace” (Jer. 29:11). His will is—

1. THAT MEN SHOULD BE SAVED. “Have I any pleasure at all, that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 18:23). “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life” (John 3:16).
2. THAT ALL MEN SHOULD BE SAVED. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. “If any man thirst let him come unto Me.” “The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11, R.V.).

1 Timothy 2:4  Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Barclay - who wishes all men to be saved, and to come to a full knowledge of the truth. 

BGT  1 Timothy 2:4 ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

NET  1 Timothy 2:4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:4 he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:4 who doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth;

MIT  1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all human beings to be saved and to enter the knowledge of truth.

  • who desires : Isa 45:22 Isa 49:6 Isa 55:1 Eze 18:23,32 Ezek 33:11 Lu 14:23  Joh 3:15-17 Joh 6:37 Ro 3:29,30 2Co 5:17-19 1Th 2:15,16 Titus 2:11 2Pe 3:9 
  • and to come: Mt 28:19 Mk 16:15 Lu 24:47 Ro 10:12-15 Rev 14:6 
  • the knowledge of the truth: Isa 53:11 Hab 2:14 Lu 1:77 Joh 14:6 17:17 2Ti 2:25 3:7 Heb 10:26 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Isaiah 45:22  (THE PASSAGE GOD USED TO SAVE SPURGEON) “Turn to (imperative) Me and be saved (imperative), all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 

Isaiah 49:6 He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” 

Isaiah 55:1  “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 

Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? 

Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.

Ezekiel 33:11   “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’

2 Peter 3:9+  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Revelation 14:6+ And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people

John 3:16+  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Luke 1:77+ To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, 

2Ti 2:25-26+ with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance (NOTE IT IS A GIFT OF GRACE) leading to the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth (aletheia) 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.


Universal means relating to or affecting the entire universe thus affecting all members of the class or group under consideration and applicable in all cases. God's heart is for universal salvation, but this is not the same as universalism. Universalism is the false teaching that all souls will be saved. God desires all men would be saved but all men will not be saved.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for ALL to come to repentance.

--2 Peter 3:9+ 

Who desires (thelo) all men to be saved (sozo) and to come (erchomaito the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth (aletheia) - All men is first in the Greek sentence for emphasis. Who is who? In context this obviously is God our Savior. This verse explains why it is good and acceptable to God for saints to pray for all men. He desires their salvation. Note carefully God desires but does not decree all to be saved! God truly and genuinely desires some things that sadly do not come to pass. Desires is in the present tense indicating this is God's constant desire! Despite the wholesale rejection of His Being, God has not fickelly changed His mind. Universal salvation (not universalism) continues to be the desire of His heart. All men here accords with God's will that we pray for all men (1Ti 2:1) 

God is willing to save all though He does not will to save all,
He desires the salvation of all but did not decree the salvation of all

Danny Akin - Our prayers should be as broad and extensive as God demands. Our hearts should be as big and expansive as God desires.....We are confronted here with the biblical reality of “the two wills doctrine of God.” To simplify this profound truth we might say it like this, “God is willing to save all though He does not will to save all, He desires the salvation of all but did not decree the salvation of all. God delights in the eternal perishing of no one, though He has designed a world where some do perish eternally. Thus we distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what he has designed will happen. There is a great tension and mystery in all of this, but there is no mystery in the revealed basic, bedrock, biblical truth: God desires all men, all persons, to be saved. This is His heart and this must be our heart. The nations are on His heart. All humanity is on His heart. In Ezekiel 18:32 God tells us, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone.” (ESV). Today there are according to the “Joshua Project,” as of 2-17-09, 6,649 unreached people groups. There are 2.72 billion who know little or nothing of Jesus. The top 100 unreached/least reached people groups alone total 1.7 billion people. Here you have the names of countries like India, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Myanmar, China, Nigeria, Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia, North Korea, Turkey, Afganistan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Uzbekistan. India alone has 46 of the largest unreached/least reached people groups in the world! China has 7. Pakistan has 7. Indonesia has 5. Lest you think my heart is only for the nations let’s take a look at home. The picture is not pretty. In fact it is heartbreaking. Christianity grew by only 5% from 1990-2000 in the United States. Now compare this statistic with the following growth rates: Nonreligious/Secular 110% increase, Islam 109% increase, Buddhism 170% increase, Hinduism 237 % increase, Unitarian/Universalist 25% increase, Native American 119% increase, Baha’i 200% increase, New Age 240% increase, Sikhism 338% increase, Scientology 22% increase, Taoism 74% increase, and Deism 717% increase. Do we believe God desires all to be saved? Then we must do more. The nations cry for more. Our nation cries for more. Our God deserves more. He loves us so much He allows us to share in His mission if only we will join Him

Alford - 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.”

Chrysostom’s comment is “if He willed to save all, do thou will it also; and if thou willest, pray for it”

To be saved means to be rescued from danger, and in the case of all men, speaks of the rescue from the danger of dropping off into the eternal lake of fire. Saved (sozo) in the aorist tense describes that salvation as occurring at a point in time, for once they are saved in time, they are saved for eternity. Saved (sozo) is also in the divine passive indicating salvation is a work of God from beginning to end, from justification to glorification, from eternity past to eternity future. All praise, glory and honor be unto our great God for His desire to save any of us rebels! 

Paul is referring to initial salvation or so-called past tense salvation (Three Tenses of Salvation) -

Come (erchomai in active voice = calls for a personal decision of one's will) is not coming in the literal sense but in the figurative sense of "spiritual coming" (Mt 11:29-30+) To be sure, as Jesus taught "no one can come (erchomai) to Me, unless the Father Who sent Me draws him." (Jn 6:44+, cf Jn 6:37+). But those who are drawn still have to chose to come (How do God’s sovereignty and humanity’s free will work together in salvation? or related note). In context God desires they come to the knowledge of the truth, and ultimately this means to come to a true knowledge (epignosis) of the One Who is the essence of Truth (Jn 14:6), Christ Jesus Who is full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14+, cf Jn 8:32+, Jn 17:17). To come to the knowledge of the truth is to hear the Gospel (cf, "the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation," Eph 1:14+, "word of truth, the Gospel", Col 1:5+, "truth of the Gospel"), receive the Gospel and be transformed by the Gospel, which is what it means to be saved. One cannot be saved without coming to the full knowledge of the truth about Who Jesus is and what He has accomplished on the Cross to secure our salvation (Acts 4:12+).

THOUGHT- "Once saved, always saved" is a true saying, but only if it is true! Say what? Here's what -- the first use of "saved" has to be authentic, genuine, the "real deal" and not some "decision," or profession or intellectual belief. There has to be a circumcised heart, a radical change, a supernatural transition from darkness to light, a change of allegiance from the devil to the Divine, from an old creature to a new creature (2Co 5:17+). In that sense, the saying is "dangerous," because it can be deceptive and end up with some deluded professors standing before Jesus one day saying "Lord, Lord," (Mt 7:21-23+)! (See Is once saved, always saved biblical? | GotQuestions.org)

Knowledge of the truth - phrase 5x in NT - 1Ti 2:4; 2Ti 2:25; 2Ti 3:7; Titus 1:1; Heb 10:26 

God’s will to save is as wide as His will to create.
-- Walter Lock

If God desires all men to be saved (sozo) and says first of all (1Ti 2:1) pray for all men, clearly one of the primary objectives of our prayers would be that all men might be saved. Of course we know that such will not happen because the gate is small and few are those who will enter it (Mt 7:13, 14+). What we do know is that salvation of all men is God's will and so in that spirit (and in the Spirit), we humbly and confidentially (cf 1Jn 5:14-15+) can beseech Him without ceasing for the salvation of souls. 

God is not to blame for their unbelief.

John MacArthur - God genuinely desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Yet in "the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:11), He chose only the elect "out of the world" (John 17:6), and passed over the rest, leaving them to the damning consequences of their sin (cf. Ro 1:18-32). The culpability for their damnation rests entirely on them because of their sin and rejection of God. God is not to blame for their unbelief. Since God desires all men to be saved, we are not required to ascertain that a person is elect before praying for that person's salvation. God alone knows who all the elect are (2Ti 2:19).....No true biblical theology can teach that God takes pleasure in the damnation of the wicked. Yet though it does not please Him, God will receive glory even in the damnation of unbelievers (cf. Rom. 9:22–23). How His electing grace and predestined purpose can stand beside His love for the world and desire that the gospel be preached to all people, still holding them responsible for their own rejection and condemnation, is a mystery of the divine mind. The Scriptures teach God’s love for the world, His displeasure in judging sinners, His desire for all to hear the gospel and be saved. They also teach that every sinner is incapable yet responsible to believe and will be damned if he does not. Crowning the Scripture’s teaching on this matter is the great truth that God has elected who will believe and saved them before the world began. What mystery  (See full answer to question If God Desires All Men to Be Saved, Why Aren't They?)

Charles Swindoll on desires all men... - Please observe Paul's careful use of verb tenses and moods in this declaration of God's desire. He did not write, "God . . . who desires to save all men," but "God . . . who desires all men to be saved." It does not invalidate the scriptural doctrine of election to say that God desires all people to embrace the truth of the gospel and receive eternal life.

Paul doesn't here unravel the mystery of how God's sovereignty and the limited autonomy of humanity impact a person's salvation. He merely affirms the fact that the Lord does not delight to see people perish for their sin (Ezek. 18:23; 33:11). (See Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy)

Hiebert: God's desire for the salvation of everyone springs spontaneously from His love for a lost race. But that does not mean that all will be saved. If Paul had used the active infinitive "to save," rather than the passive, that might have been implied. That some men are not saved is not due to any inefficacy or deliberate limitation in the divine will, but is due to man's rejection of God's appointed means of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (BORROW First Timothy)

Lange says: If God is minded to bring all men to the knowledge of the truth, who do not wilfully shut their eyes to it; if Christ has given Himself in death for all, that they may be kept from eternal ruin, we ought also, as holy children, to follow this example of God and Christ, gladly encourage all to seek their eternal health and salvation, and omit nothing which may aid toward it (ED: IN CONTEXT PRAYING FOR THEIR SALVATION).

David Guzik on desires all men to be saved - Because this is true (as seen from a human perspective), therefore the gospel must be presented to all without reservation. Any idea of limiting evangelism to the elect is absurd. (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Steven Cole - I can’t answer the theological conundrum, “If God desires that all be saved, why doesn’t He save all?” The Bible is clear that God has sovereignly foreordained some to eternal life, while passing by others. Scripture often sets together in the same context the seeming contradiction that God is sovereign and yet men are responsible to repent and believe (Rom. 9:15-18; 10:13). Jesus, who was going up to Jerusalem to die for our sins according to the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23; Luke 13:33), lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” (Luke 13:34; see Luke 10:22 for contrast). In our text, Paul’s concern was to counter the Jew who said that God wishes to destroy sinners and the spiritually proud who said that salvation is only for the elite, by saying, “No! God desires to save all men.” I once heard a man who has a deep burden for the lost tell of how he was praying for the conversion of his neighbor, a man named Ray. Every morning this man would pray fervently for Ray’s salvation. On many mornings, he said he would have to wipe the tears from the pages of his Bible as he pled with God for Ray to come to Christ. Then one morning he got the frightening thought, “What if Ray isn’t one of the elect?” So he said he prayed, “Lord, if Ray isn’t on the list, then You put him there! Make up a new list, if you have to, but bring Ray to know You!” Eventually, Ray did trust in the Savior. Maybe his theology wasn’t precisely correct. But don’t get hung up on the theology and miss the obvious application of verse 4: Is my heart in tune with God’s heart? Do I desire the salvation of all people? Does my prayer life for the people I know who are without Christ reflect God’s pleasure to save all people?

Donald Guthrie points out that "The statement who wants all men to be saved became a centre of controversy between the Calvinists and the Arminians of the seventeenth century, owing to the implied universalism of the words.....These words fairly represent the magnanimity of the divine benevolence. The words all men must be linked with the ‘all’ of verse 1. Intercession for all men could be justified only on the ground of God’s willingness to save all (cf. Jeremias).....The phrase knowledge of the truth is reminiscent of John and is not found in Paul outside the Pastorals. It should be understood as the whole revelation of God in Christ, to know which must be the climax of Christian salvation."  (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

Related Resources:

Desires (2309thelo refers to exercising of one's will with the underlying sense of to be willing, to desire, to want or to wish. W E Vine says thelo "chiefly indicates the impulse of the will rather than the tendency (boulomai). The different shades of meaning must be determined by the teaching of the Scriptures generally or by the context."

Saved (healed, made well or whole) (4982) sozo has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo is sometimes used of physical deliverance from danger of perishing (see Mt 8:25; Mt 14:30; Lk 23:35; Acts 27:20, 27:31), physical healing from sickness (Mt 9:21, 22; Mk 5:23, Acts 4:9), and deliverance from demonic possession (Lk 8:36). More often sozo refers to salvation in a spiritual sense to rescue or preserve from eternal death, from judgment, sin, bring salvation, bring to salvation (active sense = Mt 18:11; Lk 7:50; Jn 12:47; Ro 11:14; 1 Cor 1:21; 7:16; Titus 3:5; Hb 7:25; Jas 4:12; 5:20; 1 Pet 3:21 or passive sense =  be rescued or saved, attain salvation = Mt 24:13; Mk 10:26; Lk 13:23; 18:26; Jn 3:17; Jn 5:34; Acts 11:14; 15:1, 11; Ro 8:24; 11:26; 1 Cor. 3:15; 5:5; Eph 2:5, 8; 1 Ti 2:4). Jesus' very Name speaks of His primary purpose to save men from their sin - "She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21+)  In Mt 1:21 sozo is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus' Name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".

Sozo - 101v - bring...safely(1), cured(1), ensure salvation(1), get(1), get well(2), made...well(6), made well(5), preserved(1), recover(1), restore(1), save(36), saved(50), saves(1), saving(1). Matt. 1:21; Matt. 8:25; Matt. 9:21; Matt. 9:22; Matt. 10:22; Matt. 14:30; Matt. 16:25; Matt. 18:11; Matt. 19:25; Matt. 24:13; Matt. 24:22; Matt. 27:40; Matt. 27:42; Matt. 27:49; Mk. 3:4; Mk. 5:23; Mk. 5:28; Mk. 5:34; Mk. 6:56; Mk. 8:35; Mk. 10:26; Mk. 10:52; Mk. 13:13; Mk. 13:20; Mk. 15:30; Mk. 15:31; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:36; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 13:23; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 18:26; Lk. 18:42; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 23:35; Lk. 23:37; Lk. 23:39; Jn. 3:17; Jn. 5:34; Jn. 10:9; Jn. 11:12; Jn. 12:27; Jn. 12:47; Acts 2:21; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:9; Acts 4:12; Acts 11:14; Acts 14:9; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:30; Acts 16:31; Acts 27:20; Acts 27:31; Rom. 5:9; Rom. 5:10; Rom. 8:24; Rom. 9:27; Rom. 10:9; Rom. 10:13; Rom. 11:14; Rom. 11:26; 1 Co. 1:18; 1 Co. 1:21; 1 Co. 3:15; 1 Co. 5:5; 1 Co. 7:16; 1 Co. 9:22; 1 Co. 10:33; 1 Co. 15:2; 2 Co. 2:15; Eph. 2:5; Eph. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Tim. 4:18; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 5:7; Heb. 7:25; Jas. 1:21; Jas. 2:14; Jas. 4:12; Jas. 5:15; Jas. 5:20; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Pet. 4:18; Jude 1:5; Jude 1:23

Knowledge (1922epignosis from verb epiginosko from epí = upon + ginosko = to know) is a strengthened or intensified form of "gnosis" and conveys the thought of a knowledge which is fuller, larger and more thorough. It also conveys the idea of a more intimate and personal relationship than the simple term gnosis.Vine says the verb form epiginosko suggests generally a directive, a more special, recognition of the object known than ginosko. Epígnosis refers to exact, complete, thorough, accurate, experiential knowledge, not just abstract, intellectual, head knowledge of God or even facts about Him. This is especially relevant to genuine salvation which calls for "experiential knowledge" not just "intellectual knowledge!"

Epignosis, is repeated four times in the Pastoral Epistles (1Ti 2:4, 2Ti 2:25, 3:7; Titus 1:1), and is contrasted with the false knowledge or so called "knowledge" of the heretical teachers (1Ti 6:20; Titus 1:16)

Epignosis - 20v - Rom. 1:28; Rom. 3:20; Rom. 10:2; Eph. 1:17; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9; Col. 1:10; Col. 2:2; Col. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Tim. 3:7; Titus 1:1; Philemon 1:6; Heb. 10:26; 2 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:8; 2 Pet. 2:20

Truth (225)(aletheia from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed and thus that which conforms to fact or reality. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is.  Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe the reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, "what you see is what you get". Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth of Creation (Natural Revelation) and the Truth of Scripture (Special Revelation). Thus it is not surprising that rebellious, sinful men actively hold down or suppress the Truth of Creation (and the glorious Creator) (Ro 1:18+) and even exchange the truth, the clearly manifested (and objective) reality (Creation) for the lie (Ro 1:25+).

Aletheia in Pastoral Epistles - 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:1; Titus 1:14

ILLUSTRATION - One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man called Peter who was resisting the message, but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard. Taylor panicked when he saw that no one made any effort to save the man. Instinctively, he sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. A fishing boat was close by, so Taylor tried to solicit their help. But they wouldn’t stop their fishing to look for this drowning man unless Taylor agreed to pay them. Not only that, but to Taylor’s consternation, they wanted to barter for every penny he had. Finally, after he agreed to pay them a sizeable sum, they agreed to help. In less than a minute after dragging with the fishing net, they found Peter. But it was too late; Peter was dead. They had been too busy fishing to worry about a drowning man.

What a tragic story! How callused and self-centered those Chinese fishermen must have been to realize that a man was drowning nearby and yet to be more concerned about their own financial gain than about saving his life. But before I condemn those fishermen, I need to take the log out of my own eye. How concerned am I with people around me who are perishing without Jesus Christ? Do I care more about my own comfort and financial gain than I do about people dying without the Savior? Do I go on about my business day after day, week after week, without any burden for those who need to know Christ as Savior? (Steven Cole - The Priority of Prayer)

1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

BGT  εἷς γὰρ θεός, εἷς καὶ μεσίτης θεοῦ καὶ ἀνθρώπων, ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς,

Barclay - For there is one God, and one Mediator, between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, 

BBE For there is one God and one peacemaker between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

CSB For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human,

ERV For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,

ESV For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

GWN There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and humans-a human, Christ Jesus.

KJV For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

NKJ For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

MIT For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man—a human being, Christ Jesus.

NAB For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human,

NET For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human,

NIV For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

NJB For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus,

NLT For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity-- the man Christ Jesus.

NRS For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,

YLT for one is God, one also is mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus,

  • one God: De 6:4 Isa 44:6 Mk 12:29-33  Joh 17:3 Ro 3:29-30 Ro 10:12 1Co 8:6 Ga 3:20 Eph 4:6 
  • and one mediator: Job 9:33 Heb 7:25 Heb 8:6 Heb 9:15 Heb 12:24 
  • the Man: Mt 1:23 Lu 2:10-11  Joh 1:14 1Co 15:45-47 Php 2:6-8 Heb 2:6-13 Rev 1:13 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (~ "MEDIATOR"), since He always lives to make intercession for them. 

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 9:15  For this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.


Sinful men need a "middle man!"

For (gar) is a term of explanation, in context explaining how men may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. They have to come to God through Christ Jesus.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
-- Deuteronomy 6:4+

There is one God, and one mediator (mesites) also between God and men, the Man Christ (Christos) Jesus  (Iesous) - Note Paul's emphasis on One a truth the majority of our pluralistic world rejects! One God is the Jewish "Shema" (Dt 6:4+, cf Dt 4:35, 39; Isa 43:10, 44:6, 45:5–6, 21–22, 46:9, 1Co 8:4, 6) speaking of the monotheistic nature of God. One God denies the polytheistic view of divinity held by much of the lost world. God testifies "I am the LORD and there is no other. Besides Me there is no God." (Isa 45:5, 6, 14) God is on one side and men are on the other side. In between there is One Mediator (mesites), Christ Jesus. One mediator means one and only one way to God and underscores the exclusive claim of Christianity and of Jesus Himself when He declared "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; (ABSOLUTELY) no one comes to the Father but through (AS THE MEDIATOR) Me." (Jn 14:6). There is One God and only One Way to approach Him.

The Man Christ Jesus clearly speaks of Jesus' humanity and underscores his earlier trustworthy statement "deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." (1Ti 1:15+) Jesus could not have mediated for man except by becoming Man, even "as His Godhead fits Him to mediate with God." (PC) Indeed, there is a Man in Heaven today (and forever) Who was not previously there (as a "Man") before His incarnation and death on the Cross (cf "slain" in Rev 5:9, 12+)! His manhood gave us the perfect pattern for Walking Like Jesus Walked! His glorified Humanity in Heaven is now the perfect pattern for our glorified state as described in 1Jn 3:2+ (cf Php 3:20-21+). (See How can Jesus be both God and Man at the same time?)

Danny Akin - Here is the divine/human negotiator between God and man, heaven and hell. Slip in any other name at the end of verse 5 and you plunge yourself into the world of blasphemy and heresy, of Satan and demons, of hell and lostness. As Adrian Rogers puts it, “salvation is not a plan-it’s a Man!”

Note that the truth in this passage is the very reason that Paul can urge prayer for all men, for now we can do so through our Mediator and Great High Priest, Christ Jesus. 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest (OUR MEDIATOR) Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace (COMING THROUGH OUR MEDIATOR), so that (PURPOSE CLAUSE) we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (DO YOU NEED HELP TODAY? THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? DRAW NEAR!!!). (Hebrews 4:14-16+)

Swindoll has an interesting note on Mediator - The Greek term mesites has the principle meaning of "trustworthy neutral."

In this sense, a mediator helps each party find mutual satisfaction for their interests. Jesus, the God-man, is uniquely qualified to represent both parties. (See Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy) (ED: While this is interesting, remember that God does not need to be reconciled to us! Unholy men need to be reconciled to a Holy God! cf Ro 5:10+ Why do we need to be reconciled with God?

J. Vernon McGee says: Job's heart cry even in his day was, "“There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both." (Job 9:33). In effect, Job was crying out, "Oh, if there were somebody who could take hold of God's hand and then take hold of my hand and bring us together that there might be communication and understanding between us!" Well, my friend, today we have a Mediator--the Lord Jesus Christ has come. He has one hand in the hand of Deity because He is God. He is able to save to the uttermost because He is God (Heb 7:25+), and He has paid the price for our salvation (ED: Jn 19:30+, cf "Paid in full" = tetelestai). He is a Mediator because He has also become Man. He can hold my hand; He understands me. He understands you; you can go to Him, and He is not going to be upset with you. He will not lose His temper or strike you or hurt you in any way. You may say, "Well, I've failed. I've done such-and-such, and I've come short of the glory of God." My friend, He knows that, and He still loves you and wants to put His arm around you. I don't put my hand in His; He puts His hand in mine. That is the wonder of it all! He has come down and put His hand in mine and taken hold of me, but He also holds on to God because He is God, and He has brought us together (ED: cf Reconciliation). (1 Timothy 2 Commentary)

Donald Guthrie points out "That no bond between God and man was possible apart from Christ Jesus is also fundamental to Paul’s thought. It is because a mediator must be representative that the humanity of Christ (the man Christ Jesus) is also brought into prominence. (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

Jesus, fully God and fully Man, undiminished deity and perfect humanity united without mixture or confusion in one person forever, is the Mediator, the One Who stands between men and God to bring them together on the basis of the New Covenant. He will quote from Jeremiah 31 which describes the New Covenant, which is God's new arrangement for those who enter that covenant to live and which our better high priest mediates and guarantees (Heb 7:22+).

Related Resource:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim, falling down before Thee,
which wert and art and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,
perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth and sky and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

1 Timothy 2:5 

TODAY IN THE WORD This coming Sunday you may lift your hands in worship and sing, “Our God is an awesome God,” and then a few hours later use the same term to describe the meal you just ate or the detailing on your neighbor’s car. Although the language of awe is commonplace among us, we rarely actually experience it.

Israel, on the other hand, learned from firsthand experience that the God they worshiped was awesome. After they heard the words of the Law proclaimed by God’s own voice, they were filled with joy and terror. They rejoiced to discover that “a man can live even if God speaks with him” (Deut. 5:24). However, they did not feel that such a relationship could be sustained without help. They begged Moses to act as their mediator–pleading with him to be God’s spokesman and their representative.

This illustrates one of the primary themes of the Old Testament law: the truth that we need someone to bridge the gap between man and God that has been created by our sin.

While the church has always recognized this problem, it has not always sought an adequate solution. Like Israel, some have looked to other believers to function as mediators. The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ has fulfilled what Israel asked of Moses. Others may be appointed as priests, but only Christ can function as a true priest. He alone knows what it’s like to be God and man. His death on the cross is the only payment God will accept for sin. Because He rose from the dead and lives forever, He is the only one who is “able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).

APPLY THE WORD Have you been looking to someone or something other than Jesus Christ to serve as your “bridge” into God’s presence? Perhaps you have been relying on the clergy or rites of the church to make you right with God. Others in the church can instruct us and pray for us. They can be a source of great encouragement and can be used to help us grow spiritually. The ordinances of the church are a helpful reminder of what Jesus did. But only Christ can bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Spurgeon - from Sermon A Mediator

‘A mediator is not a mediator of one,’ but he studies the interests of both parties. Such is our Lord Jesus Christ. Coming here on earth, did he come to save men? Yes. Did he come to glorify his Father’s name? Yes. For which of these two purposes did he chiefly come? I will not say. He came for both and he blends the two. He looks after the interests of man and pleads the causes of his soul: he looks after the interests of God and vindicates the honour of God, even unto death. Is he obedient, that he might magnify the law of God, and make it honourable? Yes, but he is mediator that he may deliver us from the curse of the law. Beloved, our blessed mediator is not a mediator for one. An umpire must not take sides, and a mediator that did not understand more than one side and was not concerned for anybody but one side would be unworthy of the name. Our mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, has both natures. Is he God? Verily, he is very God of very God. Is he man? Assuredly, of the substance of his mother, as truly man as any man among us. Is he most God, or is he most man? This is a question not to be asked and, therefore, not to be answered. He is my brother. He is God’s Son. Yes, he is himself God. What better umpire can we want than this divine human being, who can lay his hands upon us both, who counts ‘it not robbery to be equal with God’, and yet calls man his brother? ‘A mediator is not a mediator of one,’ since he wears both natures and espouses both causes. How dear to the heart of Christ is the glory of God! He lives, he dies, he rises again to glorify the Father. How dear to Christ is the salvation of men! He lives, he dies, he rises again and pleads for the salvation of sinners.

    ’Tis by the merits of Thy death
    The Father smiles again;
    ’Tis by Thine interceding breath
    The Spirit dwells with men.’


Don’t think of Christianity as a religion, a ritual, a routine, or a set of rules. It may have elements of all those things, but it is primarily and essentially a relationship with the living God through Christ our Redeemer.

As quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, Rich Gannon enjoyed his share of fame and fortune. But the high point of his life came while playing backup quarterback with the Minnesota Vikings. “I went to chapel, and I heard a speaker give his testimony. I felt so guilty inside,” he said. “I was a young, strapping athlete who had basically everything. But I felt I wanted something he had. I knew what he had was that inner joy and peace that a relationship with Jesus brings.”

It’s a relationship with Jesus that brings joy to our lives. Someone said that religion is man seeking God; Christianity is God seeking man. Becoming a Christian isn’t primarily a matter of doing good works, but of coming to Christ in simple faith and asking forgiveness for sin. When you receive His forgiveness, gained through His shed blood, your sin is washed away and His righteousness takes its place.

If you’ve never done that, why not today? Why not now? (from Morning and Evening)

H A Ironside - 1 Timothy 2:5–6

Sinful man feels the need of One who can stand for him in the presence of God. The realization of this troubled Job. He cried, “Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:33). This is exactly what we find in Christ Jesus, the Mediator whom God has provided. He is both God and man in one glorious person, hence He can act for both the offended Majesty of Heaven and the guilty sinner. On the cross He gave Himself a ransom. It was for this He came into the world. “Not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Yes, that ransom is available for all, both Jews and Gentiles, who will come to Him in faith. If any are lost now, it is because they refuse to avail themselves of the provision made for their salvation. Through the one Mediator all who desire to know His saving grace and power may now draw nigh to God.

         None like the ransomed host
         That precious blood have known;
         Redemption gives faith’s holy boast
         To draw so near the throne.

TODAY IN THE WORD On November 4, 1979, rioting students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 Americans hostage. For the next fourteen months, direct communications were cut off between the United States and Iran's newly formed revolutionary government. Contact with the hostages was only possible through other countries, such as Canada. Despite military rescue attempts, in the end it was the work of intermediaries, such as an Algerian diplomat, that brought about the hostages' release on January 20, 1981.

The Iranian hostage crisis illustrates the key role that intermediaries play in resolving seemingly insurmountable hostilities. When face-to-face negotiations aren't possible between two parties, a third party can act as a bridge. This understanding of mediation is helpful in order to grasp Christ's role as the mediator of the new covenant. We might think of fallen humanity and a perfectly holy God as two parties that cannot meet face-to-face without some type of mediator.

The old covenant made with Moses at Sinai offered some provisions to bridge the gap. Even so, human inability to keep this covenant (Heb. 8:7-8) pointed toward the need for a new covenant that would be completely effective in removing sin (v. 12). Just as the new covenant is superior to the old one, so also the mediator of the new covenant, Jesus Christ, is superior to the old covenant's mediator, Moses.

The change of covenants doesn't imply that God somehow changed His mind, but rather that God graciously provided one means of dealing with sin that was provisional until His final means, the perfect sacrifice of His Son, could be enacted. In this way, Jesus' blood accomplished what animal blood could not, namely a truly cleansed conscience (Heb. 9:14). Thus the new covenant guarantees our eternal inheritance.

Jesus as our mediator is one example of His present ministry on our behalf. Tomorrow we'll see that Jesus is also our High Priest.

APPLY THE WORD One of the unique aspects of Christianity is that it emphasizes a personal relationship with God, only possible because of our mediator Christ. Christianity isn't an external set of do's and don'ts, but an internal change in which a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and fully reconciled to God the Father through Jesus' atoning work. With this in mind, ask yourself if you've fallen into the trap of viewing your faith as rules to obey instead of a relationship that transforms from the inside out.

Contact With The Almighty

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14

Today's Scripture: John 1:1-14

After spending millions of dollars in a 40-year project, scientists have still made no contact with extraterrestrial beings. But their search continues. Robert Jastrow, director of the Mount Wilson Institute, says that he expects to find “beings superior to us . . . , not only technically, but perhaps spiritually and morally.”

Jastrow and his fellow scientists hope that an alien civilization billions of years old will be able to tell us why we are here and how to overcome our destructive tendencies, which make advances in weapons technology so terrifying. This fear that humanity might destroy itself, as well as the innate desire for meaning in life, may account for the many popular books and movies about extraterrestrial beings.

In his book Show Me God, Fred Heeren says of this interest in alien beings: “People want a higher companion, but not too high. . . . People are looking for an intermediate, . . . but someone who can still identify with us as a fellow creature.”

How sad that they search in the wrong places for what God has already provided in Christ! The Bible says there is “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus has revealed God to us and opened the door to life eternal.  By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

Who's Going To Heaven?

We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. —Romans 3:28

Today's Scripture: Romans 3:21-28

A poll for U.S. News & World Report asked 1,000 adults their opinion about who would likely make it into heaven. At the top of that list, to no one’s surprise, was a well-known religious figure. Several celebrities were also listed. But it was surprising to me that of the people being surveyed, 87 percent thought they themselves were likely to get into heaven.

I can’t help but wonder what qualifications for admission into heaven they had in mind. People have many erroneous ideas about what God requires.

Is it virtuous character? Giving generous contributions to deserving charities? Following an orthodox creed? Attending church and being involved in religious activities? Commendable as these qualities may be, they miss by an eternity the one thing God requires for entrance into heaven—a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Although faith in Jesus will no doubt be seen in a person’s actions (James 2:14-20), charitable living or religious activity is not a substitute for trusting in Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sin.

Are you confident that you’re headed for heaven? You can be—but only if you’re trusting in Jesus. By:  Vernon Grounds (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

There aren't many ways into heaven;
The Bible says there's only one:
Confessing Christ Jesus as Savior,
Believing in God's only Son.

Jesus took our place on the cross to give us a place in heaven.

One Sacrifice

There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. — 1 Timothy 2:5

Today's Scripture: Hebrews 10:5-10

Journalist Jill Neimark wrote an article titled “Shaman in Chicago” about her very unconventional uncle.

A well-educated, prosperous commodities trader, he has become a high priest in the Ifa religion, which practices animal sacrifice as its highest act of worship. Formerly an atheist, he is now a convinced believer in a divine energy that he insists cannot be experienced in traditional religion.

Neimark thinks her uncle is an extreme example of those millions of questing Americans who crave a firsthand experience with dynamic supernaturalism. As one of Neimark’s friends put it, “We want to dial God direct; we don’t want to go through the operator.” Or as Neimark says, we’re “beating our own path to God.”

We who know the truth, power, and joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ can be grateful for these truths: (1) There is no need for any further sacrifice, because Jesus offered Himself as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sin (Heb. 10:10). (2) There is no need for any other mediator between God and us, because Jesus, who is our mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), guarantees direct access to God. (3) There is no need to beat our own way to God, because Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). By:  Vernon Grounds (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

The cross of Christ is all we need
To take our sins away;
He is our perfect sacrifice—
The life, the truth, the way.

Salvation is achieved by Christ’s atonement, not by our attainment.

QUESTION - What does it mean that there is one mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5)?

ANSWER - A mediator is an official “go-between” who acts as a link between two parties to reconcile their differences. The term literally means “one who stands in between.” In legal disputes, a mediator represents the interests of both parties, working as an intercessory agent to negotiate a settlement. In global conflicts, a mediator intervenes between opposing world powers to try to achieve peace.

The apostle Paul writes In 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” Humanity is born into sin (Psalm 51:5). Sin is a problem because it stands in the way, blocking the relationship between humans and God. All people enter this world separated or estranged from the Holy God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 5:10, 12) and deserving of His wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Romans 6:23 explains that the penalty for sin is death, not only physical death but spiritual, eternal death (Revelation 20:11–15).

Because of our sinful condition, human beings need a mediator to negotiate peace with God—and that person is Jesus Christ: “Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1NLT).

Scripture reveals Moses as mediator of the Old Testament covenant (Galatians 3:19; cf. Exodus 20:19, 21–22; Deuteronomy 5:5, 22, 23, 27, 31; Acts 7:38). Moses entered God’s presence on behalf of the people of Israel. He drew near to God, speaking and interceding as their representative. Moses was God’s chosen mediator to lead the Israelites in the way of salvation through a relationship with God.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ became the mediator of a new, superior covenant: “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6NLT).

Jesus, God’s incarnate Son, is the perfect intermediary, better than Moses because He alone is appropriately qualified to be the one mediator between God and man. Only Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 2:17). As man and God, Jesus is uniquely equipped to represent both sides. He alone stands in the gap between God and man. He alone meets the righteous requirements of the law, opening the way into God’s presence once and for all through His death on the cross and resurrection to life (John 1:17; Hebrews 3:1–6; 9:15, 22; 10:10; 12:24).

Only the sacrifice of the sinless, spotless Lamb of God could fully pay the ransom required to set people free from sin and eternal death. Jesus took our punishment on Himself, making it possible for us to experience forgiveness of sin and freedom from its destructive control.

There is one mediator between God and man means that Christ is the only way to God the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If we want to experience peace with God and a restored relationship of joy in His presence, we must come “by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Hebrews 10:19–20).

Jesus Christ is the one mediator—the one and only Savior of the world (John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:15). There is no other go-between. We come to God through faith in His Son, who is the only means of salvation. Religion cannot save us. Good works won’t make us right with God. Nothing but faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient to bridge the gap between sinful humanity and a Holy God.

As the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ now rules in the hearts of believers and “is at the right hand of God . . . interceding for us” (Romans 8:34ESV). We can live in the secure knowledge that, in the end, Christ will put every enemy “under his feet,” including “the last enemy,” which is death itself (1 Corinthians 15:24–27).GotQuestions.org

Related Resource: 

J C Philpot - 1 Ti 2:5 - That he is God, is the very foundation of his salvation; for it is his eternal Godhead that gives virtue, efficacy, and dignity to all that as man he did and suffered for his chosen people. If he were not God, God and man in one glorious Person, what hope would there be for our guilty souls? Could his blood atone for our sins, unless Deity gave it efficacy? Could his righteousness justify our persons, unless Deity imparted merit and value to all the doings and sufferings of his humanity? Could his loving heart sympathize with and deliver us, unless "as God over all," he saw and knew all that passes within us, and had all power, as well as all compassion, to exert on our behalf? 

We are continually in circumstances where no man can do us the least good, and where we cannot help or deliver ourselves; we are in snares, and cannot break them; we are in temptations, and cannot deliver ourselves out of them; we are in trouble, and cannot comfort ourselves; are wandering sheep, and cannot find the way back to the fold; we are continually roving after idols, and hewing out "broken cisterns," and cannot return to "the fountain of living waters." How suitable, then, and sweet it is, to those who are thus exercised, to see that there is a gracious Immanuel at the right hand of the Father, whose heart is filled with love, and whose affections move with compassion; who has shed his own precious blood that they might live; who has wrought out a glorious righteousness, and "is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by him."

QUESTION - How and to whom did Jesus pay our ransom?

ANSWER - A ransom is something that is paid to provide for the release of someone who is held captive. Jesus paid our ransom to free us from sin, death, and hell. Throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are found God’s requirements for sacrifices. In Old Testament times, God commanded the Israelites to make animal sacrifices for substitutionary atonement; that is, an animal’s death took the place of a person’s death, death being the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). Exodus 29:36a states, "Each day you must sacrifice a young bull as an offering for the atonement of sin."

God demands holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). God’s Law demands holiness. We cannot give God full holiness because of the sins we commit (Romans 3:23); therefore, God demands satisfaction of His Law. Sacrifices to Him satisfied the requirements. This is where Jesus comes in. Hebrews 9:12-15 tells us: "Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ritual defilement. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, so that all who are invited can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant."

Also, read Romans 8:3-4, "The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit."

Clearly, Jesus paid the ransom for our lives to God. That ransom was His own life, the shedding of His own blood, a sacrifice. Due to His sacrificial death, each person on earth has the opportunity to accept that gift of atonement and be forgiven by God. For without His death, God’s Law would still need to be satisfied—by our own death.GotQuestions.org

1 TIMOTHY 2:5–6—Does the fact that Christ is the mediator between humanity and God mean that Christ himself is not God?

MISINTERPRETATION: The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that, since Christ is the Mediator, he must not be God, for the Mediator must be separate and distinct from those who need mediation (Should You Believe in the Trinity? 1989, 16).

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION: If Jesus as mediator cannot be God, then, by the same logic, he cannot be human. Such reasoning is clearly faulty. From a scriptural perspective, Jesus can mediate between God and man precisely because he is both God and man. It was only as a man that Christ could represent all humankind and die as a man. However, since Christ was also God, his death had infinite value sufficient to provide redemption for the sins of all humankind (see Heb. 2:14–16; 9:11–28). Thus, only the death of the perfect God-man can truly mediate for sinful humanity to God. (Norman Geisler - When Cultists Ask

QUESTION - What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?  SEE ALSO RELATED VIDEO 

ANSWER The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible. 

The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who are God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:

1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word "Elohim" and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for "God," "Elohim," definitely allows for the Trinity.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke 4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event of Jesus’ baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son. Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24; Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7, 12; Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.

4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son see Luke 22:42, John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and especially John 16:13-14.

6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus’ human works (John 5:17; 14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.

The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1, 16:12-15; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.

The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus’ works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been many attempts to develop illustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God’s greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).

Below is the best symbol for the Trinity we are aware of (GotQuestions.org)


Dr Wayne Grudem on the Trinity - Chapter 14 God in Three Persons: The Trinity How can God be three persons, yet one God? - Systematic Theology page 183 . (Below is an excerpt from the 30+ page article).

It is important to remember the doctrine of the Trinity in connection with the study of God’s attributes. When we think of God as eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and so forth, we may have a tendency to think only of God the Father in connection with these attributes. But the biblical teaching on the Trinity tells us that all of God’s attributes are true of all three persons, for each is fully God. Thus, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are also eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinitely wise, infinitely holy, infinitely loving, omniscient, and so forth. 

faith. To study the Bible’s teachings on the Trinity gives us great insight into the question that is at the center of all of our seeking after God: What is God like in himself ? Here we learn that in himself, in his very being, God exists in the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet he is one God.

EXPLANATION AND SCRIPTURAL BASIS We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God. (click to read rest of discussion page 184ff)

Below are some resources Dr Grudem quotes that are available to be borrowed at archive.org:

Related Resources:

Mediator (3316mesites from mésos = middle, in midst) is one who stands in the middle between two people and brings them together. It is basically a neutral and trusted person in middle (mesos), a so called "middle Man" (arbitrator). It is one who works to remove disagreement and thus serves as a mediator, go-between or reconciler.

J D Watson - A Word for the Day - Mesites - Mediator is mesitēs, which is derived from mesos, “in the middle, in the midst,” and therefore means “one who finds himself in the middle between two parties or bodies.” In Classical Greek, mesos became a legal term denoting neutrality (hence the Latin and English neuter, “neither of two”), as in one who sits between two conflicting parties to arbitrate and settle a matter. The man who sits in the middle, then, is the mesitēs.

While the concept of a mediator is not found in the OT—although Paul refers to Moses and the Law as a mediator in a negative sense (Gal. 3:19–20)—its use in the NT is extremely significant.

One such occurrence is in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The backdrop of that statement is the pagan Greek concept of multiple gods and goddesses. In contrast, Paul tells Timothy how vital it is that he proclaim the one and only God who can be reached by the one and only Mediator, Jesus Christ. The same message is desperately needed today as well. Not only do men worship many gods, but false religions such Roman Catholicism teach that a “priest” is a necessary “mediator” between men and God. But Paul makes it clear that it is Christ alone who mediates through His death and resurrection.

Most noteworthy again, however, are the uses of this word in the book of Hebrews. As noted yesterday, Christ “obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (8:6). Once again, Christ is better than all things and, therefore, most certainly is an infinitely better mediator than the Law (cf. 9:15 and 12:24).

We should also note that while mesitēs itself appears only six times, the concept of Christ as Mediator is reflected many more times. Could the concept be clearer than it is in John 14:6, where Christ is the only way to God? And it is Hebrews again that speaks of Christ as our Great High Priest who goes to the Father on our behalf (Heb 4:14–16; 7:25). Likewise, John declares that He is our Advocate, our wonderful Defense Attorney, who constantly pleads our case (1 John 2:1).

Once again, let us rejoice that Christ is better.

Christ (5547Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). Christos describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. It is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah." Christos is used in the Septuagint describing everyone anointed with the holy oil, especially the priesthood (Lev. 4:5+, Lev 4:16+) and it is also a name applied to those who were acting as redeemers like Cyrus. "Hamilton suggests a fourfold significance to such anointing (“māshach,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1:530): (1) separation unto God, (2) authorization by God, (3) divine enablement, and (4) the coming Deliverer.

Jesus (2424Iesous is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).

GOSPEL DOCTRINE - (John Butler - Sermon Starters)

1 Timothy 2:5 “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

This is a great Gospel text. It teaches much doctrine, we note three lessons from the text.


“There is one God.” This is not a text for atheists or polytheist

• The existence of God. Our text teaches the existence of God. A number of years ago there was a God-is-dead movement that was not only ridiculous but it died while God is still very much alive. When one considers the entire universe, you can understand better Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 which say “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Furthermore the Bible says, “he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Hebrews 11:6). God will tolerate no hypocrites.
• The essence of God. “One God,” Polytheism is the favorite idea of the world. They want to make room for the Muslim god, Buddha and other gods of the world. The world does not know God, and their view shows it. The Bible insists there is but one God. He is manifested in the Trinity which the human mind cannot fathom but wise men simply believe it. Israel had habitual trouble with idolatry which was a many-god religion, so the Old Testament had much to say about the fact of one God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39, 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 45:5, 6 and Zechariah 14:9).


“Mediator between God and men.” We note the need and number about the Mediator in our text.

• The need. When two parties are at odds with each other it often requires a Mediator to bring peace between the two parties. Since God is faultless, the problem is entirely with man. Man will not talk with God, will not walk with God, will not respect God and will not obey God. This conduct of man invites Divine judgment. Man is in a very precarious position and if he is going to get out of it he needs help. And since he cannot solve the problem himself, a mediator is desperately needed to bring peace between him and God.
• The number. Scripture (John 14:6, Acts 4:12) emphasizes that there is but One Mediator. Roman Catholics teach that Mary is the Mediatrix-female word for Mediator) but like many of their teachings, it has no Scripture support. Christ is the only way of salvation.


“The man Christ Jesus.” Two important truths are taught here about the Mediator.

• The identity of the Mediator. “Christ Jesus.” The Mediator is Christ. Scripture makes that extremely plain. He alone is the Savior.
• The incarnation of the Mediator. “Man.” Christ was both God and man. His first coming to earth manifested His incarnation. He became flesh in order to take our sin-punishment on Calvary

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Barclay - Who gave himself a ransom for all. It was thus he bore his witness to God in his own good times, 

BGT  1 Timothy 2:6 ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων, τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

NET  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God's purpose at his appointed time.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself-- a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself a ransom for all-- this was attested at the right time.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:6 who offered himself as a ransom for all. This was the witness given at the appointed time,

NAB  1 Timothy 2:6 who gave himself as ransom for all. This was the testimony at the proper time.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:6 who did give himself a ransom for all -- the testimony in its own times --

MIT  1 Timothy 2:6 He gave himself as the ransom for all humanity; the confirmation of this came in its own times.

  • Who gave Himself as a ransom for all: Job 33:24 Isa 53:6 Mt 20:28 Mk 10:45 Joh 6:51 10:15 2Co 5:14,15,21 Eph 1:7,17 5:2 Titus 2:14 Heb 9:12 1Pe 1:18,19 1Pe 2:24 3:18 1Jn 2:1,2 4:10 Rev 1:5 5:9 
  • the testimony, 1Co 1:6 2Th 1:10 2Ti 1:8 1Jn 5:11,12 
  • at the proper time.: 1Ti 6:15 Ro 5:6 16:26 Ga 4:4 Eph 1:9,10 3:5 Titus 1:3 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Timothy 1:8+  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony (marturion) of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,

Mark 10:45+ “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (lutron/lytron) for many.”

Galatians 4:4+ (AT THE PROPER TIME) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,

Hebrews 1:1; 2  God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Who gave Himself as a ransom (antilutron) for all, the testimony (marturion) given - Gave is aorist tense (at a point in time) which in the active voice signifies Christ Jesus made a decision of His own will (cf Jn 10:15, 17+, 1Jn 3:16+). The pronoun Himself is significant and indicates Jesus held nothing back and He did this for us! Jesus presented Himself a vicarious, voluntary offering. Ransom (antilutron) speaks of the price Jesus price (His precious blood - 1Pe 1:18-19+) to secure our redemption (pay the price to set captives/slaves free). The preposition for is huper, which means in place of, in behalf of and in this context as the substitute for all who would place their faith in Him (See substitutionary atonement)! All (pas) is the interesting word here, for some would say this means for all who would one day believe in Him (so-called limited atonement), whereas others would say this means His death for efficacious for all mankind, even though not all would believe in Him (unlimited atonement). I tend to favor the latter, but can understand the debate. The point is that His death avails for any and all who place their faith in Him. “The way is open to all but there is only one way. What was the testimony? It was the Person of Jesus Christ, Who declared the truth that He was "the way, the truth and the life and no one could come to the Father but through Him (as "Mediator")." (Jn 14:6). 

“Life is short, death is sure,
sin is the cost
and only Jesus is the cure.”

Donald Guthrie - Christ is pictured as an ‘exchange price’ on behalf of and in the place of all, on the grounds of which freedom may be granted. Yet not all enjoy that freedom. The ransom‚ it is true‚ has infinite value‚ but the benefits require appropriation. The apostle is implying here that since the ransom is adequate for all, God must desire the salvation of all.  (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

NET Note renders the testimony given at the proper time as "revealing God's purpose at his appointed time." - Revealing God's purpose at his appointed time is a difficult expression without clear connection to the preceding, literally "a testimony at the proper time." This may allude to testimony about Christ's atoning work given by Paul and others (as 1Ti 2:7 mentions). But it seems more likely to identify Christ's death itself as a testimony to God's gracious character (as 1Ti 2:3–4 describe). This testimony was planned from all eternity, but now has come to light at the time God intended, in the work of Christ. See 2Ti 1:9–10; Titus 2:11–14; 3:4–7 for similar ideas. 

Swindoll says the testimony is "The fact that Jesus paid "a ransom for all" provides undeniable proof that God desires "all men to be saved." (Insights on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

Barclay on ransom - Antilutron is a very rare word. It is worth noting in the passing that in the Orphic literature it is used to mean an 'antidote', and 'remedy'. Christ's death, we could understand it, is the 'antidote' for the poison, and the 'remedy' for the disease of sin.

Jesus paid a debt He did not owe to pay the debt we could never pay.

At the proper time - Paul explains the proper time as "when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law." (Gal 4:4+).

Danny Akin - Paul says this glorious truth is to be testified in due time, at the proper time. God has, in Christ, provided overwhelming evidence at a particular moment in history of his desire for the salvation of all men. He has done His part.

Ransom  (487)(antilutron from antí = in return, in lieu of, instead of [signifies substitution] + lútron = ransom) is literally something standing in lieu of a ransom. It describes "what is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption." (Thayer) In classic Greek it also meant antidote or remedy. Vine writes that "The prefix anti expresses that the ransom is equivalent in value to that which is procured by it. It indicates the vicarious nature of the expiatory sacrifice of Christ in His death."

Testimony (3142marturion/martyrion source of English "martyr") means evidence, proof. The content of what a witness tells. Marturion is is the declaration of facts which confirms or makes something known. Testimony, witness, proof, the declaration which confirms or makes something known. Marturion is an objective act, circumstance or statement that provides evidence or certifies the truthfulness of something. The content of what is witnessed or said. Testimony (marturion) means just that—a testimony or witness. A person can only testify to what he himself has seen or heard or experienced. A witness in a courtroom is to report only what he knows objectively, factually, and personally. He is not to speculate, guess, or deduce. Testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter, a declaration of truth or fact. Testimony is proof or demonstration of some fact, evidence, piece of evidence.

QUESTION - Whom did Jesus die for? Did Jesus die for everyone?

ANSWER - Exactly whom Jesus died for is a point of theological disagreement among evangelical Bible believers. Some Christians believe that Jesus died only for the elect; this is the doctrine of limited atonement, the L in Calvinism’s TULIP. Other Christians believe that Jesus died for everyone who has or ever will live; this is the doctrine of unlimited atonement, held by Arminians and most four-point Calvinists, or Amyraldians.

Limited atonement, sometimes called particular redemption, is based on the doctrine of election or predestination (Romans 8:30, 33; Titus 1:1). Since only the elect of God will be saved, the reasoning goes, Jesus must have died only for them. Otherwise, Jesus’ death “failed” those who are not elect. If Jesus died for everyone, then hell will be full of people for whom Jesus died—was His atonement insufficient? If Jesus died only for the elect, then His atonement perfectly accomplished its goal. Every person for whom Jesus died will be in heaven.

Unlimited atonement, on the other hand, says that Jesus died for everyone but that only those who respond in faith will reap the benefits of His sacrifice. In other words, Jesus’ death was sufficient for all, but only effectual for some (those who have faith). If Jesus did not die for everyone, the reasoning goes, then the offer of salvation is empty, because the non-elect cannot be saved. The teaching of unlimited atonement is based on verses such as 1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Precise theological thinking is a good thing. We are called to be students of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15). But on this point, it seems that most people follow a theological system to get to their answer, rather than the clear Word of God. If it were not for theological systems (namely, Calvinism and Arminianism), the question of whom Jesus died for would probably never come up—but it has come up! One side says that, if Christ did not die for all, then there can be no genuine offer of salvation. The other side says that, if Christ died for some who will never be saved, then His death in some sense fails to accomplish its purpose. Either way, there seems to be an attack upon God’s character or Christ’s work—either God’s love is limited or Jesus’ power is limited. This presents an unnecessary dilemma and creates a tension where none need exist. We know that God’s love is infinite (Psalm 107:1) and that Christ’s power is infinite (Colossians 1:16–17). The dilemma is a false one of our own making.

In short, the offer of salvation is universal—to all who will believe (Romans 10:11, 13). We also know that, regardless of how broad Christ’s atonement is, it is limited in some respect—it is effective only for those who believe (John 3:18).

John 10 provides more insight into the issue of whom Jesus died for. In that passage we see that Christ died for His sheep (John 10:11, 15). Also, all who are His sheep will come to Him (Jn 10:4 and Jn 10:27), and they are kept secure in Christ (Jn 10:28–30). However, when we share the gospel, we don’t try to “pre-screen” the hearers of the message. We don’t delve into who are the elect or for whom Jesus may or may not have died. Those discussions would distract from the goal of evangelism. When presenting the gospel, we simply say, “Jesus died for your sin, and He rose again from the dead. His death is sufficient to pay for your sins if you will put your faith in Him.” This is a biblically accurate statement, and it avoids trying to get too specific. The preaching of the apostles in the New Testament doesn’t try to cut it more finely than that. GotQuestions.org

Related Resources: 

Scriptures describing for whom Christ died...

  • For all (1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 53:6).
  • For every man (Heb. 2:9).
  • For the world (John 3:16).
  • For the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
  • For the ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
  • For false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
  • For many (Matt. 20:28).
  • For Israel (John 11:50–51).
  • For the Church (Eph. 5:25).
  • For "me" (Gal. 2:20).

James Smith - A RANSOM FOR ALL 1 Timothy 2:4–6

1. The need implied. “Who will have all men to be saved.”
2. The desire of God. “Who will have all men.”
3. The provision made. “Who gave Himself a ransom for all.”
4. The way appointed. “One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”

1 Timothy 2:7  For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Barclay - to which I have been appointed a herald and an envoy (I am speaking the truth: I do not lie), a teacher to the Gentiles, a teacher whose message is based on faith and truth.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:7 εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κῆρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολος, ἀλήθειαν λέγω οὐ ψεύδομαι, διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀληθείᾳ.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

NET  1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle– I am telling the truth; I am not lying– and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a herald, an apostle (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I'm not exaggerating-- just telling the truth.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:7 of which I was appointed herald and apostle and -- I am telling the truth and no lie -- a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:7 For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am speaking the truth, I am not lying), teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:7 in regard to which I was set a preacher and apostle -- truth I say in Christ, I do not lie -- a teacher of nations, in faith and truth.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:7 To give this testimony, I was appointed a messenger and apostle—I speak truthfully without prevarication—a teacher of nations in matters of faith and truth.

  • For this: 1Ti 1:11-12 
  • I was appointed: Ec 1:1,2,12 Eccl 7:27 Eccl 12:8-10 Ro 10:14 Eph 3:7,8 2Ti 1:11 2Pe 2:5 
  • I am telling the truth: Ro 1:9 9:1 2Co 11:31 Ga 1:20 
  • a teacher: Joh 7:35 Ac 9:15 22:21 26:17,18,20 Ro 11:13 15:16 Ga 1:16 2:9 
  • in faith: Ac 14:27 Ga 2:16 3:9 
  • truth: Ps 111:7 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

1 Timothy 1:11-12+  according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.  12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,

2 Timothy 1:11+ for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.


For this - When you see phrases like this, begin to train your mind (enabled by the Spirit) to always ask "For what?" God had appointed Paul (and us) to proclaim the message of truth in 1Ti 2:6. 

I was appointed a preacher (kerux - a herald) and an apostle (apostolos - a sent one) (I am telling the truth [aletheia], I am not lying) as a teacher (didaskalos) of the Gentiles (ethnos) in faith (pistis) and truth [aletheia] - Paul first gives the three-fold appointment he had received from God. In is a locative of sphere, indicating the "atmosphere" in which he carries out his three-fold appointment, in faithfulness and veracity. 

Danny Akin adds on in faith and truth - With fidelity and veracity Paul conducted his ministry before all. Examine my motives and my message. See if they will not withstand your most careful scrutinizing and inspection. This is my ministry! This is my life! Why? Because Christ is my life!

Why does Paul affirm I am telling the truth, I am not lying? - This is in effect an oath. Paul says that this is essence of my person and my passion. 

Robert Coleman is his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism writes, “The need of the hour is a return to the kind of evangelism which majors in people winning other people to Christ and building those they have won into disciples who can win and build others.” (BORROW The master plan of evangelism and discipleship : two books in one volume)

Danny Akin writes that "Paul had a unique call from Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel. But then, does he not have the same for us all in some sense? The first great missions movement growing out of the Reformation was among the Moravians. Their passion for the gospel and the nations is unparalleled in our day. Indeed the historian A. C. Thompson wrote of these early mission pioneers,” so fully was the duty of evangelizing the heathen lodged in their thought that the fact of anyone entering personally upon that work never creates surprise… It is not regarded as a thing that calls for widespread heralding, as if something marvelous or even unusual were in hand.” (See article by Colin Grant - Europe's Moravians - A Pioneer Missionary Church). Going to the nations was the norm, it was simply who they were! It is well known the influence that the Moravians had on the Great Awakening preacher John Wesley (1703-81). Perhaps what he caught from them was what inspired him to write this prayer to our God:

“I am no longer mine but Yours.
Put me to what You will;
Rank me with whom You will;
Put me to doing, put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You,
Exalted for You or brought low for You;
Let me be full, let me be empty,
Let me have all things or let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
To Your pleasure and disposal. Amen.”

Can you say this? Can I? A Great Commission Christian can.

Spurgeon, “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay."

Preacher (2783kerux is the Greek term describing the Imperial Herald (Crier, Messenger, Proclaimer) who made a public proclamations for kings, magistrates, princes, military commanders. A kerux was the town crier or herald. The kerux, who often served as a close confidant of the king, would travel throughout the realm announcing to the people whatever the king wished to make known. It is this note of authoritative declaration that is so appropriately transferred to the proclamation of the gospel. In Classic Greek kerux was used of a public servant of supreme power both in peace and in war, who summoned the town gathering (which is the Greek word ekklesia translated in the NT as "church"). Paul was the public crier of the gospel message resulting in the ekklesia being called out of the world and unto God into the body of Christ, the church. That the gospel message was also found in the OT, is implied by Peter's description of Noah as "a preacher (kerux) of righteousness" (2Pe 2:5+). Kerux word also stresses the boldness and openness of Paul’s evangelistic work because he had a message which he boldly, uncompromisingly proclaimed before both kings and commoners.

Kerux - 3x - 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:5

Apostle (652apostolos  from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click discussion of apostle) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment. In the ancient world a apostle was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to prove he was the king's envoy.

Paul's uses of apostle -  Rom. 1:1; Rom. 11:13; Rom. 16:7; 1 Co. 1:1; 1 Co. 4:9; 1 Co. 9:1; 1 Co. 9:2; 1 Co. 9:5; 1 Co. 12:28; 1 Co. 12:29; 1 Co. 15:7; 1 Co. 15:9; 2 Co. 1:1; 2 Co. 8:23; 2 Co. 11:5; 2 Co. 11:13; 2 Co. 12:11; 2 Co. 12:12; Gal. 1:1; Gal. 1:17; Gal. 1:19; Eph. 1:1; Eph. 2:20; Eph. 3:5; Eph. 4:11; Phil. 2:25; Col. 1:1; 1 Thess. 2:6; 1 Tim. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:11; Titus 1:1

Teacher (1320didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The teacher teaches in such a way as to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught. Someone has said that "The great teacher is the one who turns our ears into eyes so that we can see the truth." Henry Brooks added that "A (Bible) teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Richards writes that "Jesus’ teaching focused on shaping the hearers’ perception of God and God’s kingdom, and thus it dealt with the implications of a personal relationship with God. In John’s Gospel, much of Jesus’ public instruction focused on himself and his own place as Son of God."

Didaskalos - Matt. 8:19; Matt. 9:11; Matt. 10:24; Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:38; Matt. 17:24; Matt. 19:16; Matt. 22:16; Matt. 22:24; Matt. 22:36; Matt. 23:8; Matt. 26:18; Mk. 4:38; Mk. 5:35; Mk. 9:17; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 10:17; Mk. 10:20; Mk. 10:35; Mk. 12:14; Mk. 12:19; Mk. 12:32; Mk. 13:1; Mk. 14:14; Lk. 2:46; Lk. 3:12; Lk. 6:40; Lk. 7:40; Lk. 8:49; Lk. 9:38; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 11:45; Lk. 12:13; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 19:39; Lk. 20:21; Lk. 20:28; Lk. 20:39; Lk. 21:7; Lk. 22:11; Jn. 1:38; Jn. 3:2; Jn. 3:10; Jn. 8:4; Jn. 11:28; Jn. 13:13; Jn. 13:14; Jn. 20:16; Acts 13:1; Rom. 2:20; 1 Co. 12:28; 1 Co. 12:29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 5:12; Jas. 3:1

Truth (225aletheia  from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is. 

Aletheia uses by Paul - Rom. 1:18; Rom. 1:25; Rom. 2:2; Rom. 2:8; Rom. 2:20; Rom. 3:7; Rom. 9:1; Rom. 15:8; 1 Co. 5:8; 1 Co. 13:6; 2 Co. 4:2; 2 Co. 6:7; 2 Co. 7:14; 2 Co. 11:10; 2 Co. 12:6; 2 Co. 13:8; Gal. 2:5; Gal. 2:14; Gal. 5:7; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:21; Eph. 4:24; Eph. 4:25; Eph. 5:9; Eph. 6:14; Phil. 1:18; Col. 1:5; Col. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Tim. 4:4; Tit. 1:1; Tit. 1:14

1 Timothy 2:8  Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:8 Βούλομαι οὖν προσεύχεσθαι τοὺς ἄνδρας ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ἐπαίροντας ὁσίους χεῖρας χωρὶς ὀργῆς καὶ διαλογισμοῦ.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

NET  1 Timothy 2:8 So I want the men to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:8 Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

NIV  1 Timothy 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument;

RSV  1 Timothy 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

YLT  1 Timothy 2:8 I wish, therefore, that men pray in every place, lifting up kind hands, apart from anger and reasoning;

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

NJB  1 Timothy 2:8 In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:8 It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:8 I insist, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without being in a huff and contentious.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up pious hands, without wrath or reasoning.

GWN  1 Timothy 2:8 I want men to offer prayers everywhere. They should raise their hands in prayer after putting aside their anger and any quarrels they have with anyone.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:8 It is my desire, then, that in every place men may give themselves to prayer, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or argument.

  • Therefore I want: 1Ti 5:14 1Co 7:7 Titus 3:8 
  • pray: 2Ch 33:11,12 Ps 130:1,2 La 3:55,56 Jon 2:1,2 Mal 1:11 Lu 23:42,43  Joh 4:21,23,24 Ac 21:5 
  • lifting: Job 16:17 Ps 26:6 66:18 134:2 Pr 15:8 21:27 Isa 1:15 58:7-11 Jer 7:9,10 Mal 1:9,10 Ac 10:2,4,31 Heb 10:22 Jas 4:8 1Jn 3:20-22 
  • without: 1Ki 3:11 Ps 35:13 Mt 5:22-24,44 6:12,14,15 Mk 11:25 Lu 23:34 Ac 7:60 1Pe 3:7 
  • and dissension: Mt 21:21 Mk 11:23,24 Jas 1:6-8 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Timothy 5:14  Therefore, I want (boulomai)  younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach;

Titus 3:8  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want (boulomai) you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

Matthew 5:22-24; 44  “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (5:44) “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered


Therefore - Term of conclusion. What is Paul concluding? Note the mention of pray again in this passage, so it is fair to say that Paul is concluding his pericope on prayer which began in 1Ti 2:1 with 1Ti 2:3-7 addressing a main motive for prayer that lost might be saved. 

Hiebert says: The important matter is not the bodily posture but the inner life. The one leading in prayer must have "holy hands," hands unstained with sin through employment in impure deeds. He who would lead others to the throne of God must be morally qualified to do so.

Belleville has an interesting comment on this next section of chapter 2 proposing that "The setting is public worship. This is clear from the opening "therefore" (NLT omits), which ties verses 8-15 with what comes before. God wants all people to be saved (2:4-5), and Christ offered himself as a ransom to this end (2:6). Therefore men and women need to start behaving in public worship in a manner consonant with these theological truths. Also, "to pray" is repeated (2:1, 8). Paul set out the duty of the entire congregation to pray for all people—especially public officials (2:1-7); then, he offered specific corrections along gender lines. Paul begins with a virtual command: "I will it." This is quite unusual. Paul's typical pastoral approach is that of request: "I urge" (parakaleō), or "I ask" (deomai). He commands only as a last resort—as he did with the Thessalonian church "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," when their idleness increased (instead of decreasing) after his first missive (2Th 3:6). To interject his apostolic authority in this way indicates that there was a need for decisive intervention." (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 17: 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews)

I want (boulomai) the men in every place to pray (proseuchomai) - Want expresses more than just a suggestion. While not a command, it is Paul's strong desire for this to take place in worship. Men is aner, the Greek word for adult males (in contrast to women who Paul addresses in 1Ti 2:9) and not people in general. Pray is the general, all encompassing word for prayer and in the present tense calls for this to be the continual practice of holy men (cf "holy hands"). 

Steven Cole - GOD’S PLAN DESIGNATES MEN AS TAKING THE LEADERSHIP IN PRAYER. God wants “men” (the Greek word in 2:8 means “males,” men in contrast to women) to take the leadership in the prayer life of the church. In 1 Corinthians 11:13 Paul indicates that women may pray in public as long as they are obviously in submission to men (“heads covered”). But both there and here he makes it plain that men are to take the leadership in the church, including this matter of prayer. The same applies to the home: Men, you need to take the initiative in prayer!

Lifting up holy  (hósioshands, without wrath (orge) and dissension (dialogismos) - Holy hands implies a holy man and as "Steven Cole says "This refers to practical holiness, being separate from sin and evil behavior. It does not mean being separate from sinners, because the Lord Jesus was the friend of sinners. But the devout man does not carouse with sinners in their sin. Rather, he seeks to lead them to repentance. The devout man takes God and the Word of God seriously. He doesn’t take the things of God as a joke. He lives in obedience to God’s Word." Holy hands are further descriptively defined as hands that are not hypocritical, that can be lifted up without any taint of wrath or dissension. Wrath is discussed below. In regard to dissension, we must remember that this is "cardiac condition" for Jesus declared "out of the heart of men (anthropos) proceed the evil (kakosthoughts (dialogismos)." (Mt 7:21+). 

THOUGHT - Given the fact that holy hands call for a holy heart, all men who seek to be holy men should pray David's searching request "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." (Ps 139:23-24) Amen! 

Note the three criteria for effective prayer - (1) Holy Hands. This must not be taken literally, of course. The meaning behind this phrase is “holy living.” “A conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). (2) The Absence of Wrath. Having a forgiving spirit, loving one another. (3) The Absence of Doubting. Having no unbelief. Strong in faith. “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). Remind me, O Lord, to come to Your throne with a clean heart, a forgiving spirit, and a strong faith. Amen. (from According to Your Word - Stephen Olford) 

Adam Clarke on wrath and dissension - Having no vindictive feeling against any person; harboring no unforgiving spirit, while they are imploring pardon for their own offences.” 

Barclay says: He who prays must stretch forth and hold up holy hands. He must hold up to God hands which do not touch or handle the forbidden things. This does not mean for one moment that the sinner is debarred from God; but it does mean that there is no reality in the prayers of the man who prays and then goes out to soil his hands with forbidden things, as if he had never prayed. It is not thinking of the man who is helplessly in the grip of some sin or some passion or some habit and who is desperately fighting against it, and who is bitterly conscious of his failure. It is thinking of the man whose prayers are a sheer formality, who prays and then goes out to live as if he had never prayed.

Demarest says: The picture of lifting holy hands not only harks back to the ancient Jewish traditions; it is also a picture of coming before God with clean hands and a pure heart. How can we lift holy hands to God if we are not actively seeking to relate to all men and women, whom He loves without distinction? How can we lift holy hands to God if we are not speaking and working for the reduction and elimination of the forces and weapons poised to destroy the very people God loves and for whom Christ died? To raise holy hands, without wrath and doubting, is clearly of first importance in our worship agenda.

Broken human relationships affect one's ability to pray.
- Duane Litfin (Mt 6:12+)

Regarding wrath one is reminded of the words of Jesus "But I say to you that everyone who is angry (orgizo - cognate verb of orge) with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ (raca) shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (OR IN CONTEXT OF OUR PRESENT PASSAGE - "THEN LIFT UP HOLY HANDS!")." (Mt 5:22-24+

Hiebert says: The concluding phrase "without wrath and disputing" sets forth two conditions for effectual public prayer. "Wrath" relates to the personal attitude toward others, the inner disposition of ill-will and resentment. We cannot truly pray for those with whom we are angry, nor can we be angry with those for whom we truly pray. "To introduce disputes into prayer is to pray at one another instead of to God." Unless repented of and removed, both the inner attitude and its outward manifestation disqualify one to lead in public prayer.

THOUGHT - A few thoughts on holy hands - Do you (I) have "holy hands?" Are you truly on the inside what you give others the impression that you are on the outside? Or are you (am I) a hypocrite (cf Mt 23:25, 27)? Recall Jesus' warning "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." (Mt 5:30+) It follows that we men should not lift up holy hands until they are truly holy! James gives good advice in this regard commanding us to "Draw near (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse (aorist imperative) your hands, you sinners; and purify (aorist imperative) your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable (aorist imperative) and mourn (aorist imperative) and weep (aorist imperative); let your laughter be turned (aorist imperative) into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble (aorist imperative) yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.." (James 4:8-10+).

Wiersbe summarizes by saying: Paul stated three essentials for effective prayer, and the first was "holy hands." Obviously this means a holy life. "Clean hands" was symbolic of a blameless life (2 Sam. 22:21; Ps. 24:4). If we have sin in our lives, we cannot pray and expect God to answer (Ps. 66:18). "Without wrath" is the second essential, and requires that we be on good terms with one another. "Without anger" might be a better translation. A person who is constantly having trouble with other believers, who is a troublemaker rather than a peacemaker, cannot pray and get answers from God. "Doubting" suggests that we must pray in faith, but the word really means "disputing." When we have anger in the heart, we often have open disagreements with others. Christians should learn to disagree without being disagreeable. We should "do all things without murmurings and disputings" (Phil. 2:14). Effective praying, then, demands that I be in a right relationship with God ("holy hands") and with my fellow believers ("without murmurings and disputings"). Jesus taught the same truth (Mark 11:24-26). If we spent more time preparing to pray and getting our hearts right before God, our prayers would be more effective.

Want (wish) (1014boulomai  refers to a settled desire, one born of or springing from reason and not from emotion. To will, to wish, to will deliberately, to intend, to have a purpose, to be minded. Boulomai underlines the preset determined intention which drives one's planning, wishing, resolving.  In contrast, the verb thelo focuses on the desire ("wishfulness") behind making an offer.  Boulomai expresses the idea of the deliberate and specific exercise of volition (an act of making a choice or decision). Stated another way boulomai conveys the sense of more than simply wanting a desire or wish to be fulfilled. It conveys the stronger sense of choosing one thing over another or of preference of one thing before another.

Boulomai in Pastoral Epistles - 1 Tim. 2:8; 1 Tim. 5:14; 1 Tim. 6:9; Titus 3:8

Pray (4336proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche). Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving. Vine says that proseuchomai carries with it a notion of worship (but see the Greek word for worship = proskuneo) which is not present in the other words for prayer (eg, aiteo, deomai, both of which involve spoken supplication) Wuest adds that the prefixed preposition pros "gives it the idea of definiteness and directness in prayer, with the consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is talking face to face with God...(thus proseuchomai) speaks also of the consciousness on the part of the one who prays, of the fact of God’s presence and His listening ear." Detzler writes that "The basic idea of proseuchomai is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence." 

Holy (devout) (3741hósios) means pleasing to God, devout, in a holy manner, that is without fault as it relates to God. It describes a one who lives right before God and is devout, dedicated or holy. Kittel says in classical Greek hosios corresponds  “to what a man does by disposition in accordance with his inward attitude and the inner acceptance of what is felt to be binding," and such a man would be considered “devout” for following an ancient custom or a natural law. Hosios is one of the desired attributes of an overseer (Titus 1:8+). 

Wrath (3709orge from orgaô = to teem, to swell) conveys the picture of a swelling which eventually bursts, and thus describes an anger that proceeds from one’s settled nature. Orge does not refer to uncontrollable anger to which men are so prone but to God's settled indignation and controlled passionate hostile feeling toward sin in all its various manifestations. Settled indignation means that God’s holiness cannot and will not coexist with sin in any form whatsoever. Orge is not the momentary, emotional, and often uncontrolled anger (thumos) to which human beings are prone. Orge is used primarily of God's holy, righteous wrath but occasionally refers to the wrath of men (see Ephesians 4:31+Orge refers to to an inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders. Orge as used of God refers to His constant and controlled indignation toward sin, while thumos (which originally referred to violent movements of air, water, etc., and consequently came to mean “well up” or “boil up”) refers more to a passionate outburst of rage. Thumos type anger represents an agitated, vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly. The root meaning has to do with moving rapidly and was used of a man’s breathing violently while pursuing an enemy in great rage!

Dissension (1261dialogismos  from diá = through or as a preposition to intensify meaning of + logizomai = reckon, take an inventory, conclude; source of our English dialogue) means literally reasoning through and so to think or reason with thoroughness and completeness, think out carefully, reason thoroughly, consider carefully, weighing. In the Greek writings dialogismos described the thinking of a man deliberating with himself. It refers to calculated consideration (good or bad as discussed below). It pictures one deliberating with one’s self which conveys the basic meaning of inner reasoning. Dialogismos is the word used in Php 2:14 where Paul commands believers to have a lifestyle, to "Do all things without grumbling or disputing." 

Dialogismos - 14v - argument(1), disputing(1), dissension(1), doubts(1), motives(1), opinions(1), reasonings(2), speculations(1), thoughts(3), what...were thinking(2). Matt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Lk. 2:35; Lk. 5:22; Lk. 6:8; Lk. 9:46; Lk. 9:47; Lk. 24:38; Rom. 1:21; Rom. 14:1; 1 Co. 3:20; Phil. 2:14; 1 Tim. 2:8; Jas. 2:4

Rediscovering Holiness (BORROW) by J. I. Packer

In the same way, the historic Christian teaching on holiness has been largely forgotten, and that also is a pity, for it is central to the glory of God and the good of souls. It is nearly sixty years since I learned at school the opening verse of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, titled "The Way through the Woods." It goes like this:

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods.

I suppose it is because I love walking through woods that these lines move me so deeply. Again and again, when I find myself mourning the loss of a good thing that has perished through stupidity, carelessness, or neglect (and I confess that, both as a conservationist and a Christian, I have that experience often), Kipling's verse jumps into my mind. It haunts me now, as I contemplate the church's current loss of biblical truth about holiness....

More than a century and half ago, the Scottish parish minister and revival preacher Robert Murray McCheyne declared: "My people's greatest need is my personal holiness." It seems clear that neither modern clergy nor their modern flocks would agree with McCheyne's assessment.

Selwyn Hughes - The First Thing to Do

I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.—1 TIMOTHY 2:8

Although doubt can be turned destructively against error, it is also possible for it to be turned destructively against truth. How do we deal with the darker side of doubt? The first thing we must do is to bring every doubt into the open and examine it. Most Christians fail to do this; they do nothing with their doubts and just hope they will go away.

But the way people react to their doubts is an indication of their attitude to doubt itself. Many feel ashamed when they experience doubt and thus push it below the surface of their minds and refuse to recognize it. Some even regard doubt as the unpardonable sin. Others treat it as an unmentionable subject and never refer to any doubts they have for fear they are letting the team down. I myself sometimes struggle with doubt—even after more than fifty years in the Christian life.

In the months following my conversion, I had doubts about the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible until I decided to accept it by faith. When I did, all my doubts concerning it were immediately dissolved, and from that day to this I have never had one doubt about the reliability of Scripture. But I have doubted other things—particularly in the area of personal guidance. I have learned, however, not to let doubts threaten or intimidate me, and when they come I simply look them in the face and say: "I am going to put you in harness and make you work to bring me closer to God."
Now my doubts get fewer and fewer.

Prayer Father, how can I sufficiently thank You for showing me how to take the negative things of life and turn them into positives? Nothing need work against me when I have You within. I am so thankful. Amen. (Everyday with Jesus)

Wrath and dissension - Prayer Summits : Seeking God's Agenda for Your Community (BORROW) by Joe Aldrich

Is there a missing link? Absolutely. It's unity. Adam and Eve lost it for us in the paradise of God. Driven from Eden, polarized by sin, crippled by selfishness, the first couple quickly discovered disunity had taken up residence in the very core of their beings. Their kids came down with it and Abel died at the hand of his brother, Cain. A lethal dose of disobedience laced with a pinch of jealousy was all it took to precipitate the first murder.

Peter Kennedy - The Hand of Prayer

       "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing."—1 Timothy 2:8

A hand can be clenched in anger or used for prayer. The index finger represents those who point the way to Christ. This would include ministers and pastors, missionaries and Sunday school teachers. The middle finger is the tallest of the fingers and represents those who have authority. This finger represents the president, Congress, the governor, and all who are our leaders throughout the world. The third finger, sometimes called the ring finger, is the weakest of the three larger fingers. We are to remember those who are helpless, homeless, ill, poor, and less fortunate than us. The smallest finger represents my own needs and those of my family, friends, and neighbors. The one digit that can easily touch all of the fingers is the thumb. The thumb represents prayer. As the thumb touches each of the different fingers, we can remember to pray for those who Christ has brought to mind.
The next time you feel your hands clenching into a fist, extend them to Jesus Christ instead. Which "finger" is causing the anger? Touch it with your thumb and pray. Christ is faithful to give you wisdom.

"No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."—George Jean Nathan

Old School

I desire . . . that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel. —1 Timothy 2:8-9

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:8-10;

As we hurtle through the first part of this new century, we see an increase in people questioning time-honored standards. This was plainly detailed recently by a teen pop star—a girl who professes faith in Jesus.

While discussing standards for modesty in how she dresses, she discounted criticism of her skimpy clothing by saying, “That’s so old school.”

This young woman is both right and wrong. In a sense, she’s right. The standards of dress for Christians are “old school.” They were written down more than 2,000 years ago. But her attitude that suggests ancient standards can be set aside is wrong. In the truest sense, the principles in the Bible are not “old” as much as they are timeless. While written ages ago, they are still fresh and applicable.

As to the question of modesty, when the Bible says women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Tim. 2:9), it is still true today that we shouldn’t dress to draw attention to ourselves. A more general principle, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed” (Rom. 12:2), is a 2011 command that can guide the question of how we dress.

So whether you’re a pop star or a pew sitter, don’t worry about being “old school” if what you are doing is done according to the Book.  Dave Branon (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

  Dear Lord, help us to follow the timeless standards of the Bible in speech, clothing, and other lifestyle matters. May all we say and do bring glory to You. Amen.  

  Do my choices bring glory to God or draw attention to me?  

1 Timothy 2:8-15 Women's Rights

Judith Martin has been writing Miss Manners for over twenty-five years. She answers questions of all sorts, from those of simple table etiquette to more complex questions of social graces. “You can deny all you want that there is etiquette, and a lot of people do in everyday life,” Miss Manners explains. “But if you behave in a way that offends the people you're trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you.”

Etiquette is a word that describes social propriety. This word propriety appears twice in our text today (1Ti 2:9, 15), and its meaning is richer than simple manners. It appears only one other time in the New Testament (cf. Acts 26:25) where it is translated “reasonable.” “What I am saying is true and reasonable,” Paul insists when Agrippa mocks his testimony as the words of a crazy man. “Propriety” refers to reasonable and appropriate actions.

In today's passage, Paul sets forth guidelines for a life governed by Christian propriety. These actions are our reasonable response to the grace we have in Christ. For the men, propriety means peace (v. . As a reasonable response to the peace they have with God because of Christ, they must make peace with one another.

For the women, propriety includes modesty in dress and submission. Propriety in dress doesn't necessarily forbid women to wear gold and pearls but emphasizes that their focus and energies should spent on inner beauty (cf. 1Peter 3:3-4). Propriety also means understanding proper roles in the family and church. This does not mean that women are relegated only to the kitchens and nurseries of the church. Paul obviously expects that women will want to learn and should continue learning (1Ti 2:11). However, men, not women, are given responsibility for the authority of the church and family (cf. Eph. 5:23). By submitting to these reasonable restraints in dress and decorum, women continue in the high calling of “faith, love and holiness” (v. 15).

Today's passage is one of the most controversial biblical texts, and it has certainly been abused by some as an excuse to mistreat women. Note that Paul does not exclude women from pastoral roles because they lack the intellect or leadership savvy. He bases his argument on the order of creation (1Ti 2:13). The argument is not cultural or psychological but inherently biblical. And as we seek to understand this text today, may our approach parallel Paul's in that we allow the Bible to speak for itself and by itself.

QUESTION -  Should we raise our hands/clap our hands during worship?

ANSWER - Scripture commands that we worship God, that we exalt His name and offer Him our praise. There is biblical precedent for both the lifting of hands and the clapping of hands as an act of worship. Psalms 47:1 says, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” In this instance, both clapping and shouting out joyful worship to God are urged. In 1 Timothy 2:8, we read, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” The emphasis of this verse is the attitude of the heart; however, we see that lifting hands is an appropriate posture for prayer and worship. Having these biblical precedents, we can safely conclude that both of those expressions can be an act of worship.

What we need to ascertain is if those expressions, or indeed if any specified expression, is an actual requirement for worship. In examining specific acts of worship in the Scriptures, we see there are a variety of expressions and postures. We’ve already seen the command to clap our hands and shout to the Lord. “The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud” (2 Chronicles 5:13). So we see that singing praises and playing instruments were also appropriate expressions of worship. Singing as worship is also found in Ephesians 5:19, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”

The postures of worship include standing, kneeling, prostrating ourselves, eyes lifted up, eyes cast down, and hands raised. We do not see one specific posture universally required in worship, and neither do we see one specific “authorized” expression of worship. We can conclude, therefore, that the raising of hands and/or the clapping of hands during worship is an appropriate expression of worship, although neither is required for worship. John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." Worship is a spiritual event, and true worship comes from the heart. If our worship is not heartfelt, it doesn’t matter what posture or expression of worship we use. If our worship is from the heart, God accepts our worship. GotQuestions.org


Warren Wiersbe - Prepared to Pray 1 Timothy 2:8–15

  I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8

The late Peter Deyneka Sr., my good friend and founder of the Slavic Gospel Association, often reminded me, “Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!” Prayer was as much a part of the apostolic ministry as preaching the Word (Acts 6:4). Yet some pastors spend hours preparing their sermons, but never prepare their public prayers. Consequently, their prayers are routine, humdrum, and repetitious. I am not suggesting that a pastor write out every word and read it, but that he think through what he will pray about. This will keep “the pastoral prayer” from becoming dull and a mere repetition of what was prayed the previous week.

But the church members also need to be prepared to pray. Our hearts must be right with God and with each other. We must really want to pray, and not pray simply to please people (as did the Pharisees, Matt. 6:5), or to fulfill a religious duty. When a local church ceases to depend on prayer, God ceases to bless its ministry.

Something to Ponder In what ways do you depend on prayer at home? At work? At church? (BORROW Pause for power : a 365-day journey through the Scriptures)

1 Timothy 2:9  Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

BGT  1 Timothy 2:9 Ὡσαύτως [καὶ] γυναῖκας ἐν καταστολῇ κοσμίῳ μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ σωφροσύνης κοσμεῖν ἑαυτάς, μὴ ἐν πλέγμασιν καὶ χρυσίῳ ἢ μαργαρίταις ἢ ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ,

KJV  1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

NET  1 Timothy 2:9 Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing,

CSB  1 Timothy 2:9 Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel,

ESV  1 Timothy 2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,

NIV  1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

NLT  1 Timothy 2:9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:9 also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes,

RSV  1 Timothy 2:9 also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire

YLT  1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also the women, in becoming apparel, with modesty and sobriety to adorn themselves, not in braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or garments of great price,

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,

NJB  1 Timothy 2:9 Similarly, women are to wear suitable clothes and to be dressed quietly and modestly, without braided hair or gold and jewellery or expensive clothes;

NAB  1 Timothy 2:9 Similarly, (too,) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes,

ASV  1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment;

MIT  1 Timothy 2:9 Women, likewise, must be respectable, modest, and moderate in appearance, not dressing with elaborate hairstyles and adorning themselves with gold or pearls, or with a very expensive garment.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also that the women in decent deportment and dress adorn themselves with modesty and discretion, not with plaited hair and gold, or pearls, or costly clothing,

GWN  1 Timothy 2:9 I want women to show their beauty by dressing in appropriate clothes that are modest and respectable. Their beauty will be shown by what they do, not by their hair styles or the gold jewelry, pearls, or expensive clothes they wear.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:9 And that women may be dressed in simple clothing, with a quiet and serious air; not with twisted hair and gold or jewels or robes of great price;

  • I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing: 1Pe 3:3-5 
  • modestly and discreetly: Pr 7:10 Isa 3:16 Titus 2:3-5 
  • not with braided hair: Ge 24:53 Ex 35:22,23 2Ki 9:30 Es 5:1 Ps 45:13,14 149:4 Pr 31:22 Isa 3:18-24 61:4 Jer 2:32 4:30 Eze 16:9-16 Mt 6:28 Mt 6:29 11:8  1Pe 3:3 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

1 Peter 3:3-5  Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;


Guy King prefaces this next section dealing with women in the congregation - What would the church of Christ have done without its women? Some of them (like the men) have been a nuisance, but so many of them have been such a blessing, to their fellows, and to the Cause. To take but one instance. Go to the Assembly at Philippi. There you will find a pair of ladies at cross-purposes, Euodias and Syntyche, Philippians iv. 2, who threaten to disturb the peace of the whole company, so that Paul has to "beseech" them both to make it up, and not to be stupid. Ah, but on the other hand, there you will discover a lovely soul, in the person of Lydia, Acts xvi. 14-15; 40. I wonder how much good she did in her own quiet, unostentatious way. Anyhow, it is of extreme importance that this young Bishop of Ephesus shall know how to handle the female side of church life, and he must have been truly grateful for the guidance that his old mentor gives him, in this Epistle, on this often thorny, and always strategic, matter. So the subject opens--"In like manner also . . . women": he has been dealing with the "men"; now, likewise, he will tackle the "women" . . . .

Warren Wiersbe adds "We must never underestimate the important place that godly women played in the ministry of the church. The Gospel message had a tremendous impact on them because it affirmed their value before God and their equality in the body of Christ (Gal. 3:28+). Women had a low place in the Roman world, but the Gospel changed that. There were devoted women who ministered to Jesus in the days of His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1-3+). They were present at His crucifixion and burial, and it was a woman who first heralded the glorious news of His resurrection. In the Book of Acts we meet Dorcas (Acts 9:36ff), Lydia (Acts 16:14ff), Priscilla (Acts 18:1-3), and godly women in the Berean and Thessalonian churches (Acts 17:4, 12). Paul greeted at least eight women in Romans 16; and Phoebe, who carried the Roman epistle to its destination, was a deaconess in a local church (Ro 16:1). Many believing women won their husbands to the Lord and then opened their homes for Christian ministry." (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament )

Likewise (similarly, in just the same way) - Paul is referring to 1Ti 2:8 as he transitions to another component of this topic. He had ended the previous verse with the words "wrath and dissension." Now he introduces a subject that unfortunately has resulted in "wrath and dissension" because of his statements regarding God's role for women in the church.

I want women to adorn (kosmeo) themselves with proper clothing, modestly (unassuming demeanor) and discreetly - The verb I want is not in the Greek but added. This verb is added because in 1Ti 2:8 he had used it to address the men charging them "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray." Now with the same authority and force he addresses the women with instructions. In other words as the men were charged to pray, likewise the women are now charged to adorn themselves with proper attire. The rendering discreetly does not give the best sense of the Greek word sophrosune, which refers to a sound mind that has the ability (Spirit led) to restrain either one's impulses (thus self-control or moderation) or one's intellect.

Hendriksen on discreetly "which we have rendered good sense, means literally soundness of mind. In getting dressed for church women must practice sanity. They must dress in sensible attire. They must not try to show off, to be "all the rage," wearing flashy apparel so as to make others jealous of them. They should adorn themselves, to be sure. They do not have to balk at fashion, unless a particular fashion happens to be immoral and indecent. They must not look decidedly old-fashioned, awkward, or queer. It must ever be borne in mind that a proud heart is sometimes concealed behind a mask of pretended modesty. That too is sin. Extremes must be carefully avoided. That is what "good sense" implies. The robe must be expressive of inner modesty and of a sane outlook on life, the outlook of the Christian.

Linda Bellevue has an interesting comment on the NLT rendering "to be modest in their appearance" writing "The rendering provided in the NLT margin ("to pray in modest apparel") better fits the grammar of 1Ti 2:8-9. Paul similarly mentions women praying in 1 Cor 11:5, referring to every woman who "prays or prophesies." His only qualification is that women and men behave in ways that do not give offense to God or to outsiders (1 Cor 11:13, 16). (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary -  Volume 17: 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews)

Wiersbe makes an interesting comment that "A woman who depends only on externals will soon run out of ammunition! She may attract attention, but she will not win lasting affection. Perhaps the latest fashion fads were tempting the women in the church at Ephesus, and Paul had to remind Timothy to warn the women not to get trapped. The word translated "modest" (1 Tim. 2:9) simply means "decent and orderly." It is related to the Greek word from which we get the English word "cosmetic." A woman's clothing should be decent, orderly, and in good taste." (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament )

Hiebert points out: "Their proper glory is to be found, not in active leadership in public worship, but in that beauty of personality which is the result of active beneficence....The verb "adorn" means "to put in order, arrange, prepare," and it indicates that the adornment of the Christian woman should be one in which order obtains. "Say what some will about Paul, he here states that women are to dress in good taste when they prepare to attend church." Slovenliness in dress and appearance is unbecoming a Christian woman.  (BORROW First Timothy)

Hendriksen says: Just as the men must make the necessary preparations, so that with prepared hearts and without previous disposition to evil they "come to church," able to lift up holy hands, so also the women must give evidence of the same spirit of holiness, and must show this while they are still at home, getting ready to attend the service.

Paul (inspired by the Spirit) expresses his desire for women and this first description is most reasonable especially in a culture like America in 2022 in which moral values have been significantly eroded. Proper dress in the house of worship and in public gives the immoral/amoral society a picture of godliness and thus of the glory of God. Dressing modestly and discreetly is more of a "fashion statement" (so to speak) about the spiritual condition of one's heart than one's physical appearance. In other words they dress the way they dress because they believe the way they believe, in this case God honoring, God glorifying belief. 

Guzik - The words propriety and moderation help explain what modest apparel is.. Propriety asks, “Is it appropriate for the occasion? Is it over-dressed or under-dressed? Is it going to call inappropriate attention to myself?” Moderation asks, “Is it moderate? Is it just too much – or far too little?” Moderation looks for a middle ground.

Not with braided hair (note) and gold or pearls or costly garments - These 4 items are not as easy to understand as proper clothing, etc. Apparently this excess adorning (hair was often interwoven with gold and pearls) served to draw undue attention to a woman in Paul's day and were the antithesis of modesty and discretion just described. Imagine the effect on those women who were not wealthy enough to afford such a dazzling coiffure! "In first-century Roman culture, women would customarily braid or twist their hair high onto their heads, often decorating their locks with jewels, gold adornments, and more to garner attention. The ornate displays indeed drew a public response." And ultimately they drew attention from the only One Who was worthy for admiration, the Lord Himself! (See below) Imagine a woman sitting in the row in front with hair so high you could not see the preacher! I have been in services where one of the more prominent women (whose husband was a popular Bible teacher) in the congregation wore bracelets that jingled and jangled every time she moved her arm and this went on throughout the service -- very distracting (but it was not addressed because of her husband's esteemed place in the body!)

Lange says: He does not forbid all ornament, but only the excess which is a mark of frivolity and love of display, and awakens impure passions.

Wiersbe adds: He did not forbid the use of nice clothing or ornaments. He cautioned balance and propriety, with the emphasis on modesty and holy character. (Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament )

Guy King says: These severe words of the apostle are not to be taken as a plea for frumpishness, but as a warning against immodesty and extravagance. Ladies! look nice; but for pity's sake be natural.

Gotquestions - The best attire for a Christian woman is “good deeds,” whether or not she has the braided hair, jeweled adornments, and chic clothing of the day. Scripture does not teach it is a sin to groom oneself to feel more attractive, but it is sinful to do so with the prideful intention of turning heads, and the good works are always more important than the hairdo.(See below)

Linda Bellevue - The NLT obscures the fact that in Greek one preposition followed by two nouns connected by the word and expresses a single idea: "with gold-braided hair." By contrast, the next two nouns are separated by or, which distinguishes two different ideas: "gold-braided hair, or pearls, or costly garments....The expression "by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold" had to do with the contemporary fashion of braiding the hair with gold ribbon. The typical hairstyle for upper-class Greek and Roman women (as portraits show) involved twisting the hair into a roll at the top of the head and then looping it to form a raised ridge. The addition of gold ribbon in the braiding was a sign of wealth (van Bremen 1983:223-242).  (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary -  Volume 17: 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews)

The conduct of women in the church should be marked by godliness and submission to male leadership. But I (a male) will quickly qualify that by saying the male leadership should be of such Christ-like character that it makes it easy for the women to submit, even as they would submit to Christ Himself. Overbearing, judgmental, prideful (etc) male leaders clearly are a real hindrance to the women submitting. 

Adam Clarke writes “Woman has been invidiously defined: An animal fond of dress. How long will they permit themselves to be thus degraded?”

Adorn (2885kosmeo from kosmos = adorning or order, ornament, decoration, adornment -- this root word gives us our English cosmetic something women use to "adorn" their face and make themselves more physically attractive) speaks of that which is to put in order. To make congruous, fitting or orderly. To decorate. To embellish (to make beautiful with ornamentation; to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative details) Kosmeo conveys the idea of arranging something in proper order so as to give it symmetry, comeliness, and beauty. In ancient times kosmeo was used of arranging jewels in a brooch, necklace, ring, or crown in a way that best displayed the beauty of the gems. The noun kosmos reflects an ordered system where harmony prevails which helps expand the picture of the import of proper attire for women. 

Kosmeo - 10v - adorn(4), adorned(3), put in order(2), trimmed(1). Matt. 12:44; Matt. 23:29; Matt. 25:7; Lk. 11:25; Lk. 21:5; 1 Tim. 2:9; Tit. 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:5; Rev. 21:2; Rev. 21:19

Proper (2887)(kosmios from kosmos = adorning or order, ornament, decoration, adornment) means respectable, honorable, appropriate - Friberg says it "means strictly well-arranged; (1) of persons disciplined, honorable, respectable (1T 3.2); (2) of dress characterized by respectability modest, sensible (1T 2.9) BDAG summarized - pertaining to having characteristics or qualities that evoke admiration or delight, an expression of high regard for persons (2) pertaining to being appropriate for winning approval. Only other use is 1Ti 3:2. 

Modestly (127)(aidos) refers to unpretentiousness, modesty 1 Ti 2:9. There is one other use in the Textus Receptus (Heb 12:28) meaning reverence or respect. Gilbrant -  In early classical Greek aidōs denoted “to respect higher powers,” such as the gods, fate, or the law. In that sense aidōs could be considered as an antonym of hubris. Hubris, “wanton violence” or “insolence,” was believed to evoke the displeasure of the gods more than any other action. Aidōs, in contrast, was a virtue that pleased the gods in much the same way as phobos, “fear, awe, reverence”; eusebeia, “godliness” or “piety”; and eulabeia, “reverence, fear of the gods” (cf. sōphrosunē). In later uses, aidōs shifted its emphasis from respect for others to self-respect. However, this must not be understood as totally unaffected by the earlier meaning, since aidōs never implied any cringing submission. It denotes “bashful” and “modestly reserved.” Actually, the one who possesses true self-respect can most easily show respect to others. Aidōs occurs only twice in the New Testament: at 1 Timothy 2:9 and at Hebrews 12:28. However, some scholars have denied the canonicity of the Hebrews occurrence since aidōs is absent from most of the oldest manuscripts. At 1 Timothy 2:9 the context of women’s dress and demeanor in the worship service suggests a meaning of “reverence” for aidōs here. Reverence may be demonstrated by modesty, of course. At Hebrews 12:28 the idea of respect and the fear of the Lord are in view. Christians are exhorted to abide in grace in order that they “may serve God acceptably with reverence (aidous) and godly fear.” (Complete Biblical Library)

Discreetly (4997)(sophrosune from  sophron = of sound mind, self-controlled) means mental soundness, a rationality (Acts 26:25) and good judgment, especially practice of prudence (ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason), moderation of desires, passions, or conduct. Note that the -sune ending defines the character of someone, the "-ness" (so to speak) as in hagiosune referring to the character of holinessLouw-Nida = to have understanding about practical matters and thus be able to act sensibly (Borrow Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : based on semantic domains). Friberg on sophrosune -  (1) as a quality of life characterized by the ability to restrain passions and impulses = self-control, moderation, sensibleness ( 1Ti 2.9); (2) as intellectual soundness rationality, reasonableness, good sense (Acts 26.25) (Borrow Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New TestamentLiddell-Scott on sophrosune - 1. soundness of mind, moderation, discretion, Od., Theogn., Att. 2. moderation in desires, self-control, temperance, chastity, sobriety, Lat. temperantia, modestia, (Borrow Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon, abridged)

Steven Cole outlines and explains this last difficult section -

  • In 1Ti 2:9-10, he deals with the proper attire of women which is godliness;
  • in 1Ti 2:11-15, he deals with the proper attitude of women, which is submission to male leadership.

1. The proper attire of Christian women: not focused on outward appearance, but on godliness (1Ti 2:9-10).

Our grooming and clothing says a lot about our values and the way we think. If a woman dresses in a sensuous manner or if by inordinate attention to grooming she emphasizes external beauty, it reveals that her emphasis is on the superficial and worldly rather than on that which is significant from God’s perspective. Paul’s directive in verse 9 means that Christian women should not dress in a seductive manner nor in a luxurious, fashion-conscious manner that would arouse jealousy on the part of poorer women. Rather, she should put her emphasis on good deeds.

Obviously he is talking about a woman’s appearance not only when she attends church, but at all times. He is not prohibiting a woman from looking attractive, as long as she is not seductive or showy. Nor is he putting an absolute ban on a woman’s braiding her hair or wearing modest jewelry. He’s talking about emphasis. He was correcting women who went to great expense and effort to braid jewels and expensive ornaments into their hair. Their clothing was showy and expensive. Their appearance did not reflect a value system with God at the center nor did it draw you to their godly character. It focused on the external. It was worldly. It was the wrong emphasis. Christian women should be marked by good works.

I would encourage my sisters in Christ to take to heart Paul’s command here to dress modestly and discreetly. “Modestly” (in the original) means to be free from shame; “discreetly” means to have control over one’s passions. Many modern fashions are shameful and seductive. They are designed to attract attention to the body and to arouse lust. Men are aroused by sight (that’s why pornography attracts men). You may think that your Christian brothers should be free from lustful thoughts. Yes, they should! But you should not put a stumbling block in their way by dressing seductively! “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30). So Paul’s first instruction is that Christian women must dress properly and put their emphasis on godliness.

Henry Morris - The Clothing of a Godly Woman

"Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come" (Prov. 31:25).

A lovely little song of the 1930s was called "Try a Little Tenderness." Most readers will not remember it, but all those who have had caring, self-sacrificing mothers can relate to one of its stanzas: "She may be weary: women do get weary, wearing that same shabby dress. And when she's weary, try a little tenderness."

This writer had such a mother, and this familiar chapter on the virtuous woman (Prov. 31:10-31) always reminds him of her. As essentially the main support of three young sons in a depression-era divorced household, she managed to provide food, clothing, and shelter for the family by a succession of low-paying jobs, and with little thought of her own needs.

Many women today, on the other hand, seem concerned mainly with their own personal appearance, spending freely on the latest fashions, and on being well-dressed. A godly woman is one whose apparel is "strength and honor" first of all.

The apostle Paul advised that "women adorn themselves in modest apparel... not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Tim. 2:9-10).

Peter said their apparel should "not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel," but rather "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:3-4).

These Bible verses will remind many of their own godly mothers and also (in the case of this writer, at least) of the mother of their own children. Such mothers will indeed have occasion to "rejoice in time to come." (BORROW Days to remember : devotions for the holidays throughout the year

Vance Havner - COSMETICS

That women adorn themselves in modest apparel.... 1 Timothy 2:9.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning... But let it be the hidden man of the heart.... 1 Peter 3:3, 4.

Walk through the cosmetic section of any great department store and your imagination is overwhelmed at the fabulous magnitude of the empire of cosmetics alone. You think of kosmos, the earth, the world order, the people on the earth, then the further meanings of the word in arrangement, adornment and you wind up with cosmetics. A sensible and judicious use of some of it may not be amiss (we see many who could profit from a little!), but when you compare the time, energy, and billions of dollars spent in prettying up the natural man (and such poor results!) with the slovenly state of our inner souls, the admonitions of Paul and Peter, old-fashioned as they sound, ought to convict us of what creatures of the cosmos even we Christians are today. It's about time churches opened up beauty shops for the soul! (BORROW All the days

QUESTION - Why does the Bible speak against braided hair?

ANSWER - Twice in the Bible, braided hair is seemingly spurned. First, Peter instructs, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear” (1 Peter 3:3–4). Second, the apostle Paul tells his co-missionary Timothy to convey to his church members “that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” (1 Timothy 2:9). At first glance, these verses (only partially quoted here) appear to admonish against specific hair and clothing styles, but, when taken in context, they instead refer to bigger topics: humility and modesty.

In first-century Roman culture, women would customarily braid or twist their hair high onto their heads, often decorating their locks with jewels, gold adornments, and more to garner attention. The ornate displays indeed drew a public response, but the apostles’ point is that to flaunt one’s beauty for selfish adoration is not in line with the humility of Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

1 Peter 3:3–5 speaks of true beauty: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” There is a contrast set up here between outward, fleeting beauty and inward, lasting beauty. God sees the heart, and a beautiful woman has a “gentle and quiet spirit,” whether or not her hair is plaited into fancy braids. It’s not that braided hair is sinful, but it is more worthwhile to develop godly character than to coiffure the hair.

1 Timothy 2:9–10 refers to modesty, a highly debated topic in Christian culture: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Again we have a contrast, this time between flashy externals and less-noticeable deeds. The best attire for a Christian woman is “good deeds,” whether or not she has the braided hair, jeweled adornments, and chic clothing of the day. Scripture does not teach it is a sin to groom oneself to feel more attractive, but it is sinful to do so with the prideful intention of turning heads, and the good works are always more important than the hairdo.

Both passages referring to braided hair utilize a literary technique common in the Bible—the comparison and substitution of an undesirable (sinful) thing for a better (godly) thing. For example, Jesus states in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Is Jesus saying that a person should not work for physical food? Of course not. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 tells us, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Jesus is simply comparing spiritual food to physical food, emphasizing that spiritual food must be given a higher priority. To value physical health over spiritual health would be detrimental.

Christians should strive to maintain a godly perspective on how they present themselves to the world, demonstrating God’s glory with their bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and caring about the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 15:1–2). Rather than focusing on outward appearances, an inward focus on developing Christlike behavior is more profitable. Christians must “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5–8). GotQuestions.org

Related Resources:

QUESTION - What does the Bible say about being a godly woman?

ANSWER - The Bible has a great deal to say about godliness for both men and women. Most references to godliness do not differentiate between the attributes of a godly man and a godly woman. Both men and women, if they belong to Christ by faith, have exhibited a godly sorrow that “produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Without the gift of salvation by grace through faith, no man or woman can be truly godly. The word godly in the Bible means “pious” or “holy.” But piety and holiness are only achieved when we are made new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Born-again Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who produces godliness in us as He sanctifies us and molds us into the image of Christ. By His grace we are able to “live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12).

Godliness manifests itself in our lives when we are in control of our appetites and desires. We live in a worldly culture and must resist ungodly influences around us. One way a godly woman distinguishes herself from the world is by her self-control. She practices restraint and does not give free rein to uninhibited emotions, attitudes, words, and appetites.

The godly woman controls her thoughts, taking them captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). She controls her emotions and doesn’t allow them to control her. She controls her appetites and doesn’t display an unbridled passion for food and drink. She also controls her tongue, which James tells us is like “a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). The speech of a godly woman is one that edifies and encourages rather than tearing down with idle gossip. The godly woman also does not allow profanity and “unwholesome talk” to come out of her mouth (Ephesians 4:29).

Scripture says that a godly woman dresses modestly and adorns herself with “good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9–10). Christian women should be able to see the vanity inherent in the allurements of a world “under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). A godly woman is not fooled by the lies that try to convince her that attractiveness, personal worth, and fulfillment are found in physical, external beauty. The godly woman’s affections are fixed on Christ, her Savior, and she makes every effort to follow His example of good works. She has a heavenly focus, and she seeks to adorn herself with godliness, not worldliness.

Being a godly woman involves living in “purity and reverence” (1 Peter 3:2). The godly woman knows that her beauty does not come “from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes” (verse 3). Rather, she focuses on her “inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. This is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves” (1Pe 3:4–5). Peter speaks of the relationship between a godly woman and her husband, referencing Sarah as an example to be emulated: “They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear” (1Pe 3:5–6).

The godly woman trains herself to resist the world’s temptations as she practices piety. Like an athlete who uses repetition to become proficient in her sport, the godly woman continually fills her mind with the truths of Scripture. In addition, she appeals regularly to the Spirit to help her train her thoughts, attitudes, words, and desires to reflect those of her beloved Lord. “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

The godly woman has “sincere faith” like Eunice and Lois (2 Timothy 2:5). She is kind, like Ruth (Ruth 1:8). She lives righteously, as Elizabeth did (Luke 1:5–6). She is of “noble character” and seeks to follow the example set by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10–31. She shows good judgment, generosity, and prudence as did Abigail (1 Samuel 25).GotQuestions.org

QUESTION - Why does the Bible speak against braided hair?

ANSWER - Twice in the Bible, braided hair is seemingly spurned. First, Peter instructs, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear” (1 Peter 3:3–4). Second, the apostle Paul tells his co-missionary Timothy to convey to his church members “that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” (1 Timothy 2:9). At first glance, these verses (only partially quoted here) appear to admonish against specific hair and clothing styles, but, when taken in context, they instead refer to bigger topics: humility and modesty.

In first-century Roman culture, women would customarily braid or twist their hair high onto their heads, often decorating their locks with jewels, gold adornments, and more to garner attention. The ornate displays indeed drew a public response, but the apostles’ point is that to flaunt one’s beauty for selfish adoration is not in line with the humility of Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

1 Peter 3:3–5 speaks of true beauty: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” There is a contrast set up here between outward, fleeting beauty and inward, lasting beauty. God sees the heart, and a beautiful woman has a “gentle and quiet spirit,” whether or not her hair is plaited into fancy braids. It’s not that braided hair is sinful, but it is more worthwhile to develop godly character than to coiffure the hair.

1 Timothy 2:9–10 refers to modesty, a highly debated topic in Christian culture: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Again we have a contrast, this time between flashy externals and less-noticeable deeds. The best attire for a Christian woman is “good deeds,” whether or not she has the braided hair, jeweled adornments, and chic clothing of the day. Scripture does not teach it is a sin to groom oneself to feel more attractive, but it is sinful to do so with the prideful intention of turning heads, and the good works are always more important than the hairdo.

Both passages referring to braided hair utilize a literary technique common in the Bible—the comparison and substitution of an undesirable (sinful) thing for a better (godly) thing. For example, Jesus states in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Is Jesus saying that a person should not work for physical food? Of course not. Second Thessalonians 3:10 tells us, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Jesus is simply comparing spiritual food to physical food, emphasizing that spiritual food must be given a higher priority. To value physical health over spiritual health would be detrimental.

Christians should strive to maintain a godly perspective on how they present themselves to the world, demonstrating God’s glory with their bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and caring about the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 15:1–2). Rather than focusing on outward appearances, an inward focus on developing Christlike behavior is more profitable. Christians must “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5–8).GotQuestions.org

QUESTION - What does it mean to dress modestly?  WATCH THE VIDEO

ANSWER - The biblical instruction to “dress modestly” is found in 1 Timothy 2:9. As a pastoral epistle, 1 Timothy is a letter of instruction and encouragement written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, who was overseeing the church in Ephesus. Paul calls for “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving [to] be made for all people . . . that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1). He talks about God’s desire for “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He describes Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His mediatorial work between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5–6). Then he writes, “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” These commands for behavior and appearance are linked to worship of God and to public witness.

1 Peter 3:1–4 gives similar instructions: “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Peter also gives instructions to husbands regarding being considerate of their wives, who are “heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).

At the core of dressing modestly is reverence for God. Rather than seek to garner attention through appearance, godly women are to seek to glorify God. Of course, this same principle also applies to men. Both women and men are called to honor God in all aspects of their lives, including in how they dress. Instead of focusing on a societally impressive exterior, believers are to grow in godly character. Rather than be known for their clothing or hair style, they should be known for how they honor God. Jesus told His followers, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14–16).

Modesty also has to do with respect for others. Our outward appearance does communicate things to the watching world. When believers are overly concerned about externals—flaunting wealth or beauty or flashing cultural status symbols—the world misunderstands who God is. When we dress in “respectable apparel,” with modesty (unassuming, humble, reverent, respectful), we better demonstrate the truth of God. We better demonstrate that our worth is in Him, not in the things the world pursues.

Our appearance also affects fellow believers. 1 Corinthians 10:31–33 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” We should be cognizant of how our choice of apparel affects our sisters and brothers in Christ, and we should be willing to lay down our own rights for the sake of their spiritual maturation when necessary (1 Corinthians 10:23–33; Romans 14). We should not purposefully encourage others to sin.

Dressing modestly often requires us to check our motives. Are we dressing a particular way to draw attention to ourselves? To feel superior to others? To engender jealousy in others? To incite lust? Out of idolatry? If so, we need to check our hearts and possibly change our clothes. It’s also important to consider the cultural and situational context. For example, in the United States, it would be immodest to wear a ball gown to serve at a soup kitchen. But the same gown might be appropriate at a charity fundraising event. Our clothes should demonstrate a right understanding of God, a right understanding of ourselves, and respect for the people we are around.

Proverbs 31:30 gives this wisdom: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” May our clothing choices be grounded in glorifying God and focusing on that which is of eternal worth (Matthew 6:19–21).  GotQuestions.org

Related Articles from Gotquestions.org:

1 Timothy 2:10  but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:10 ἀλλ᾽ ὃ πρέπει γυναιξὶν ἐπαγγελλομέναις θεοσέβειαν, δι᾽ ἔργων ἀγαθῶν.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

NET  1 Timothy 2:10 but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:10 but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness-- with good works.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:10 but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.

RSV  1 Timothy 2:10 but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:10 but -- which becometh women professing godly piety -- through good works.

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:10 their adornment is to do the good works that are proper for women who claim to be religious.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:10 but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:10 but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:10 Rather, for a woman professing to revere God, good works should be the basis of her attractiveness.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:10 but, what becomes women making profession of the fear of God, by good works.

  • as is proper for women: 1Pe 3:3-5 2Pe 3:11 
  • good works: 1Ti 5:6-10 Pr 31:31 Ac 9:36,39 Eph 2:10 Titus 2:14 Titus 3:8 1Pe 2:12 2Pe 1:6-8 Rev 2:19 
  • 1 Timothy 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Ephesians 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

Titus 2:14 Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 

Titus 3:8   This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.


But - But is a great term of contrast, having just described good dress, Paul moves to the more important adornment for women - good works.

Rather by means of good (agathos) works (ergon), as is proper (prepo in present tense - continually becoming or suitable) for women making a claim to (epaggellio - present tense - continually professing) godliness - NLT = "women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do." Good works give beauty to the women that fancy hairstyles and baubles can never give. Good works would substantiate their good words, their claim to godliness. If their profession of true piety is genuine, let it be authenticated by their possession of good worksGodliness is the Greek word theosebeia (theos = God + sebomai = to worship) used only here and meaning piety or reverence for God. The implication is that there were women professing “godliness” and behaving in an irresponsible in the worship services. 

Good (18agathos (click discussion of good deeds) means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is one whose goodness and works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence.

Proper (fitting) (4241prepo  has the basic meaning to be prominent or conspicuous. It came to be used of a distinguishing characteristic, that which conspicuously stands out, and then especially what is suitable. Thus a "distinguishing characteristic" of saints should be a lifestyle of love and absence of these vices so common and "beloved" to the Gentiles. This is the standard of that which is fitting to their position as those set apart from the profane things of the world and to the pure and holy things of God and His high and holy purpose for their lives. (Eph 2:10+Prepō refers to acting appropriately in a particular situation, i.e. as it is seemly to God – and therefore "conspicuous amongst others; hence eminent, distinguished. . . seemly fit".  With believers, prépō ("be comely, fitting") means to do what the Lord persuades them of – hence it is directly connected with pístis ("faith," see Titus 2:1,2). In sum, prépō  means exhibiting "comely behavior" as it "morally matches" faith-decisions – i.e. what is proper to God.  This acts out outstanding behavior which is "conspicuously (undeniably) fitting" (LS). Prepō) shows forth unmistakable integrity because conformed to God (His power, standards) – and hence conspicuously glorifies Him (see 1 Cor 11:13; Eph 5:3; Titus 2:1). (from The Discovery Bible)

Making a claim (present tense - continually) (1861epaggello from epi = an intensifier of the verb + aggello = to tell, declare) means to proclaim, promise, declare, announce, claim (profess).  To give oneself out as an expert in something. To promise, offer Mk 14:11; Ro 4:21; Gal 3:19; Hb 6:13; Js 1:12. To profess, lay claim to 1 Ti 2:10; 6:21. To proclaim as public announcements or decrees; hence to announce a message, summons, or a promise. In the Class. Gr., used more in the sense of announcing a summons, issuing a command. In the NT, used only in the mid. voice, epaggéllomai, as a deponent verb meaning basically to announce oneself, offer oneself for a responsibility or service. (Borrow The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Epaggello - 15v -  made(1), made the promise(1), making a claim(1), professed(1), promise had been made(1), promised(9), promising(1). Mk. 14:11; Acts 7:5; Rom. 4:21; Gal. 3:19; 1 Tim. 2:10; 1 Tim. 6:21; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:13; Heb. 10:23; Heb. 11:11; Heb. 12:26; Jas. 1:12; Jas. 2:5; 2 Pet. 2:19; 1 Jn. 2:25

QUESTION - Should Christian women wear makeup or jewelry?

ANSWER - Some Christians believe it is wrong for women to wear makeup or jewelry, citing a couple of New Testament passages that seem to forbid such things. While we certainly respect the convictions of born-again children of God, we also want to be sure that our teaching does not go beyond what the Word of God actually says. We do not want to “teach man-made ideas as commands from God” (Mark 7:7, NLT).

In examining the propriety of wearing makeup or jewelry, we start with 1 Samuel 16:7b: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” This verse lays down a foundational principle concerning the limitations of our perspective: we naturally see the externals; God sees the internal truth. This does not mean that the externals are unimportant, of course—we readily communicate with others via visual signals, and the appearance we choose for ourselves can express rebellion, piety, carelessness, meticulousness, etc. But appearances can be deceiving, and there is the deeper issue of the heart. Whatever is done to the outward appearance is done for man to see, and we should be careful about that, but God is more concerned with what is happening in the heart.

In the context of rules for public worship, Paul says, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9–10). This is one of the passages that cause some women to avoid wearing makeup or jewelry altogether.

A couple of things to note in this passage: first, there is a standard of dress that is right for a woman in a worship service. Paul gives no specifics, but a woman’s clothing is to be modest and decent and respectable. Wearing anything that is immodest, indecent, or disreputable is wrong. Drawing the line between modest and immodest can be subjective, and modesty depends somewhat on cultural mores, but each believer should be discerning enough to avoid giving offense.

Second, there is a proper adornment for women who worship God and an improper adornment. The proper adornment for a godly woman is simply good deeds. Tabitha adorned herself beautifully by “always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). The improper adornment for a godly woman is that which puffs her up with pride or draws attention to her outward appearance: the examples are elaborate hairstyles, gold and pearls, and expensive clothing. The focus of a worship service is to be the Lord, not the latest fashion, the biggest diamond, or the most chic hairdo. Wearing a $3,000 dress to church or flashing gaudy jewelry does nothing to truly adorn the woman of God. She would be much better off—and the poor much better served—if she sold the dress and gave the money to a Christian charity. Perhaps the time she spent on the elaborate hairdo would have been better spent serving someone in need.

In 1 Timothy 2:9–10, Paul sets up a contrast between trying to please God and trying to please men. A public worship service should not be a fashion show. It’s not that a woman can never wear jewelry or style her hair differently. It’s that overindulgence and excess are improper in church. We must all guard against pride and be careful not to distract others (or ourselves) from what is truly important: the worship of God and the service of others.

Another passage that relates to the issue of women wearing makeup or jewelry is 1 Peter 3:3–5, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.”

Peter emphasizes the contrast between the outward, fleeting beauty and the inward, lasting beauty of a woman. A truly beautiful woman has a “gentle and quiet spirit.” She may not be noticed much in this world, but God sees the heart. To flaunt one’s beauty for selfish adoration is not in line with the humility of Christ, especially when the flaunting takes place in a worship service. Again, it’s not that braided hair is sinful, but those who rely on their hair, their jewelry, or their clothing to make them beautiful are chasing after vanity. It is more worthwhile to develop godly character.

In summary, there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing jewelry, makeup, or braided hair, as long as it is done in a modest manner. Also, such things can never replace good deeds or a humble spirit. A Christian woman should not be so focused on her outward appearance that she neglects her spiritual life. A worship service should be focused on God, not on us. If a woman is spending an inordinate amount of time and money on her appearance, the problem is that the woman’s priorities are misplaced. Expensive jewelry and clothing are the results of the problem, not the problem itself. GotQuestions.org

Related Resource:

1 Timothy 2:11  A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:11 Γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ·

KJV  1 Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

NET  1 Timothy 2:11 A woman must learn quietly with all submissiveness.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:11 Women should learn quietly and submissively.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in silence with full submission.

RSV  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman in quietness learn in all subjection,

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:11 During instruction, a woman should be quiet and respectful.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:11 A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman calmly learn with a completely submissive attitude.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in quietness in all subjection;

GWN  1 Timothy 2:11 A woman must learn in silence, in keeping with her position.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman quietly take the place of a learner and be under authority.

Related Passages:

Genesis 3:16+ To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire (ED: THIS IS NOT POSITIVE BUT NEGATIVE - SEE COMMENTARY) will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” 


A woman must quietly (hesuchia) receive instruction (manthano) with entire (pas = all) submissiveness (hupotage) - From 1Ti 2:8 ("in every place of worship" 1Ti 2:8NLT), the context still appears to be the worship service. Quietly describes a state of quietness without disturbance, an attitude that comes from within and is not forced on them, and an attitude that does not disturb others. Quietly does not mean complete silence or no talking for it is used elsewhere to mean "settled down," "undisturbed," and "not unruly." The verb receive instruction is a command in the present imperative  which calls for continual obedience, which would only be possible in a woman yielded to and filled with the Spirit (see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey the NT commands). The fallen flesh would tend to fight against this command, especially in concert with the qualification to obey it with a submissive spirit! This woman would need supernatural power to carry this out with both a quiet and submissive attitude! As an aside in that culture most women were not well educated. 

Elisabeth Elliot - “It is in willing submission, rather than grudging capitulation, that the woman in the church (whether married or single) and the wife in the home find their fulfillment.”

Vance Havner - “A good woman is the best thing on earth. Women were last at the cross and first at the open tomb. The church owes a debt to her faithful women which she can never estimate, to say nothing of the debt we owe in our homes to godly wives and mothers.”

Bob Utley has an interesting comment on Paul's command - At first this seems very negative, but (1) women could not study the Law in Judaism or attend school in the Greco-Roman world. So, in a sense this is a positive step towards women being trained in God’s word; (2) this text must be seen in light of the false teachers who were targeting women (cf. 1Ti 5:13; Acts 20:30; 2 Ti 3:5–9; Titus 1:11). It is possible that some women were surrogate speakers for the false teachers in public worship in the house churches.

Utley goes on to comment on entire (all) submissiveness -  This also seems negative for our day, but let us remember (1) the term “submission” was often used of Jesus. He was submissive to the Father; He was submissive to His earthly parents. In other words He fulfilled His expected societal and religious duties with the proper attitude; (2) “being submissive” is God’s will for all believers (cf. Eph. 5:21). It is one of the five PRESENT PARTICIPLES that describes what it means to be “filled with the Spirit” (cf. Eph. 5:18+ - ED: Eph 5:21+ calls for Spirit filled believers to continually [present tense] "be subject to [hupotasso related to "submissiveness" - hupotage] one another."); (3) in this same passage in Ephesians Paul uses three domestic examples to show mutual submission within the home -  (1) wives to husbands, (2) children to parents, (3) home slaves to masters. The radically positive part of this context (i.e. Eph. 5:18–6:9) is that Paul limits the power of those in that society who had all the power (i.e. husband, parents, and masters). In its day Paul’s writings about women, children, and slaves were radically positive; (4) Paul did not attack slavery as an issue because he knew it was an issue that would destroy the effectiveness of the church and her witness in that period of history. I think the same is true of the social status of women. Paul asserts their spiritual equality (cf. Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11), their giftedness (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7–13), and their role in spreading the gospel (cf. Rom. 16). But he knew that women in leadership roles would (1) be misunderstood because of fertility worship and (2) rejected by an almost exclusively patriarchal, male dominated society.

Quietly (2271hesuchia  from hesuchos = still) means stillness, quiet. Hesuchia "does not mean speechlessness, which is more directly indicated by sige" (Thayer). In 2 Th 3:12 the idea of hesuchia is a state of undisturbed quietness and calm - 'quiet circumstances, undisturbed life." (Louw-Nida) Gary Hill - For believers, hesuchia is God-produced calm with inner tranquility which ironically prompts taking "the next (appropriate) step" (decisive action).  Gilbrant adds "There are only three uses (ED: Actually 4) of hēsuchia in the New Testament, all of which describe a state. In Acts 22:2 Luke told how “silent” Paul’s hearers became when they heard him address them in their own Hebrew tongue. This “silence” is one that comes from within and is not forced from another, nor does it disturb others. Paul used hēsuchia in that same sense in 2 Thessalonians 3:12 and 1 Timothy 2:11,12. His exhortation to keep “quiet, silent” was to correct the tendency of some to disturb others and thus bring reproach upon the gospel."

Hesuchia - 4v - quiet(2), quiet fashion(1), quietly(1). Acts 22:2; 2Th 3:12; 1Ti 2:11; 1Ti 2:12

Receive instruction (3129manthano related to the noun mathetes = disciple, literally a learner! The shut mind is the end of discipleship!) has the basic meaning of directing one’s mind to something and producing an external effect. Manthano conveys the idea of accepting something as true and applying it to one’s life. Manthano refers to teaching, learning, instructing, and discipling. Manthano to genuinely understand and accept a teaching, to accept it as true and to apply it in one’s life. It was sometimes used of acquiring a life-long habit. Zuck writes that according to manthano "learning is a matter of a pupil acquiring knowledge of content through a teacher to the extent that such knowledge is experienced in the life." (Bibliotheca Sacra). 

Submissiveness (5292) hupotage from hupotasso = to submit, be under obedience) is a noun which means subordination, subjection, submission, obedience. It denotes the voluntary waiving of one's rights for the sake of another, the willful submission of one to another in the sense of renouncing the initiative, i.e., giving up the leadership. Wuest adds it "denotes a voluntary act, not one imposed from without." Vine - “Submission” is to be preferred to “subjection” here, inasmuch as to submit is to yield oneself, whereas to subject is to cause another person to yield.

Hupotage - 2Co. 9:13; Gal. 2:5; 1Ti 2:11; 1 Tm. 4

Steve Cole - The proper attitude of Christian women: not assertive, but submissive to male church leadership (1Ti 2:11-15).  

Keep in mind here that I’m just your friendly reporter. I didn’t make up the script; I just report and explain it. Like it or not, the Bible is not politically correct, in tune with our modern sensibilities. Also, there are many truths in the Bible that are seemingly contradictory or paradoxical. You have to hold both sides in tension, not going off the deep end either way. As we saw last week, God is sovereign in saving whom He chooses, but He commands us to pray for the salvation of all.

When it comes to the roles of men and women, the Bible is clear that both male and female reflect the image of God (Gen. 1:27).

Men are not superior over women nor women over men.

In Christ, men and women are equal (Gal. 3:28), but at the same time, they are to fulfill different roles.

Often in Scripture, the male/female relationship is a picture of the divine/human relationship.

Thus in Eph. 5:21-25, after instructing all Christians to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, Paul stipulates that in marriage, wives must be subject to their husbands because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the church. And husbands must love their wives just as Christ sacrificially loved the church. In this way we reflect the image of God, in which the Son is equal to the Father and yet voluntarily submits to Him; and the Father loves the Son. We also reflect the relationship of Christ to His church, in which He accepts us as His brothers and sisters, and yet we submit to Him.

Paul teaches (both in our text and in 1 Cor. 11:3-16 that there is also to be a gender-based hierarchy in the context of equality in the local church. While it would be wrong to emphasize the hierarchy and neglect equality, it is equally wrong to emphasize equality and throw out any form of hierarchy. While “evangelical feminists” try to explain the hierarchy as a cultural thing (thus not binding for today), every time Paul mentions the subject, he appeals to the Old Testament, not to some cultural factor, for support. So it is a serious error, in my judgment, to take a verse like Galatians 3:28 (“neither male nor female” in Christ) and make it the governing verse by radically reinterpreting the plain sense of other texts, such as 1 Timothy 2:11-15. We need to affirm both aspects of the truth.

In our text, Paul spells out

  • the realm (1Ti 2:11-12);
  • the reasons (1Ti 2:13-14);
  • and the reward for submission (1Ti 2:15).

A. The realm of submission involves activities where a woman would exercise authority over a man (1Ti 2:11-12).

Paul is speaking here about the church, not the home (al-though, as mentioned, women are to be subject to their husbands in the home). It is significant that Paul directs the women to learn. In the Jewish culture, they were not able to go to school to learn the Torah. But Paul wants women to learn as long as their attitude is marked by two qualities: “quietness” and “submissiveness.”

The word translated “quietly” doesn’t mean absolute silence, but rather to have inner tranquility or peace (see 1Ti 2:2). Women are not to be agitated, assertive rebel-rousers in the church. “Submissiveness” is a military word, meaning under in rank. A lieutenant and a sergeant are equal in personhood, but different in rank. Even so, women are to put themselves in rank under men in church leadership. Paul adds the words, “in entire” (submissiveness) to show that it is more than mere outward obedience; the attitude of respect is included. The implied object of their submission is church leaders (elders) who teach sound doctrine.

The word translated “exercise authority” is used only here in the New Testament and has the nuance of usurping authority or being domineering. Apparently some of the Ephesian women had taken a seminar on assertiveness training and were applying it by teaching even the men in the worship assembly. Paul is prohibiting this since, as he shows (1Ti 2:13-14), it violates God’s pattern of authority and submission as pictured in creation and the fall.

QUESTION - Do women have to remain silent in church?  WATCH VIDEO

ANSWER - First Corinthians 14:33–35 states, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (ESV). In 1 Timothy 2:11–12, there is a similar instruction: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. . . . She must be quiet.” 

At first glance, these passages seem to issue a universal command that women are never allowed to speak in the church, for any reason. In both cases, a closer examination of the context is necessary.

The whole of 1 Timothy 2:11–14, quoted only partially above, is this: “A woman a should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Note that Paul specifies the subjects of teaching and assuming authority. A woman is to “be quiet” in that she does not teach men in the church, and she shows her submission to authority by learning. In other words, this is not an absolute command for women to remain silent at all times in all services.

There are also some contextual considerations in the 1 Corinthians 14 passage. Earlier in the same epistle, Paul mentions situations where women are allowed to pray and prophesy in public: “But every woman who prays or prophesies…” (1 Corinthians 11:5).

Commentators suggest various ways of reconciling 1 Corinthians 11 (women pray and prophesy) with 1 Corinthians 14 (women are silent):

• Chapter 11 gives the rule for a smaller group of believers; chapter 14 gives the rule for the entire assembly.

• Chapter 11 focuses on dress (head coverings) as a symbol of submission without regard to the propriety of a woman praying or prophesying—the subject of prophesying being addressed later, in chapter 14.

• Chapter 11 acknowledges that, in the Corinthian church, women prayed and prophesied, but Paul reserves his condemnation of women prophesying for chapter 14.

Taking a closer look at 1 Corinthians 14, we see the overall concern is orderly assemblies. The church of Corinth was noted for the disorder rampant in that assembly (verse 33). It seems that everyone in the church service was participating whenever and however they desired. Those with the gift of tongues were speaking simultaneously, and no one was concerned with interpreting what was being said. Those with a supposed revelation from God were shouting out randomly, even if what was said could not be heard above the din, and apparently no one was evaluating what was being offered as prophecy. The meetings in Corinth were characterized by chaos, and no one was being edified or instructed (see verses 5, 12, and 19). To remedy this, Paul instructs a number of groups to “be quiet” at certain times and under certain conditions:

• Verses 27–28a, Those who would speak in a tongue must “keep silent” if someone else is speaking or if there is no one to interpret what is said.

• Verses 29–31a, A prophet must “be silent” if someone else has the floor.

• Verses 34–35, Women should “keep silent” to show proper submission.

1 Corinthians 14:33-35 appears in a very specific context. Most of 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is a discussion of tongues and prophesy. The immediate context of verses 33-35 is the evaluation of tongues and prophesy. Women are to be silent in that context.

In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, women are prohibited from teaching and exercising authority over men. In 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, women are prohibited from participating in the authoritative evaluation of any revelation given in tongues or prophecy. Doing so would involve exercising authority over men.

There are many roles women can fill in the church. The only roles women cannot fill in the church are ones that involve teaching or exercising authority over men. The evaluation of new revelation given through the spiritual gifts of tongues and prophecy would involve exercising authority over men. Therefore, when tongues and prophecy are being evaluated, women are to remain silent. Interpreted in its context, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 is not a command for women to be silent at all times in the church. Rather, it is a command, in agreement with 1 Timothy 2:11-12, that women are not to exercise authority over men in the church. GotQuestions.org

QUESTION - What roles can women fill in ministry?

ANSWER - Women in ministry is an issue upon which Bible-believing Christians can and do disagree. The point of separation centers on the passages of Scripture that forbid women to speak in church or "assume authority over a man" (1 Timothy 2:12; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:34). The disagreement is whether or not those passages were relevant only to the era in which they were penned. Some contend that, since there is neither “Jew nor Greek . . . male nor female . . . but you are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28), women are free to pursue any field of ministry open to men. Others hold that 1 Timothy 2:12 still applies today, since the basis for the command is not cultural but universal, being rooted in the order of creation (1 Timothy 2:13-14).

1 Peter 5:1-4 details the qualifications for an elderPresbuteros is the Greek word used sixty-six times in the New Testament to indicate “seasoned male overseer.” It is the masculine form of the word. The feminine form, presbutera, is never used in reference to elders or shepherds. Based on the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the role of an elder is interchangeable with the bishop/pastor/overseer (Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3). And since, according to 1 Timothy 2:12, a woman should not “teach or exercise authority over a man,” it seems clear that the position of elders and pastors—who must be equipped to teach, lead the congregation, and oversee their spiritual growth (1 Timothy 3:2)—should be reserved for men only.

However, elder/bishop/pastor appears to be the only office reserved for men. Women have always played a significant role in the growth of the church, even being among the few who witnessed the crucifixion of Christ when most of the disciples had run away (Matthew 27:55; John 19:25). The apostle Paul held women in high regard, and in many of his letters to the churches he greeted specific women by name (Romans 16:6, 12; Colossians 4:15; Philippians 4:2-3; Philemon 1:2). Paul addresses these women as "co-workers," and they clearly served the Lord to the benefit of the whole church (Philippians 4:3; Colossians 4:15).

Offices were created in the early church to fit the needs of the body. Although many modern churches interchange the positions of elder and deacon, they were not the same office. Deacons were appointed to serve in a physical capacity as the need arose (Acts 6:2-3). There is no clear prohibition against women serving in this way. In fact, Romans 16:1 may indicate that a woman named Phoebe was a respected deaconess in the church at Cenchrea.

There is no scriptural precedent that forbids women from also serving as worship leaders, youth ministers, or children’s directors. The only restriction is that they do not assume a role of spiritual authority over adult men. Since the concern in Scripture appears to be the issue of spiritual authority rather than function, any role that does not bestow such spiritual authority over adult men is permissible.  GotQuestions.org

QUESTION -  Does a wife have to submit to her husband?

ANSWER - Submission is an important issue in relation to marriage. Here is the plain biblical command: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22–24).

Even before sin entered the world, there was still the principle of the headship of the husband (1 Timothy 2:13). Adam was created first, and Eve was created to be a "helper" for Adam (Genesis 2:18–20). God has established several types of authority in the world: governments to enforce justice in society and provide protection; pastors to lead and feed the sheep of God; husbands to love and nurture their wives; and fathers to admonish their children. In each case, submission is required: citizen to government, flock to shepherd, wife to husband, child to father.

The Greek word translated “submit,” hupotasso, is the continuing form of the verb. This means that submitting to God, the government, a pastor, or a husband is not a one-time act. It is a continual attitude, which becomes a pattern of behavior.

First, of course, we are responsible to submit to God, which is the only way we can truly obey Him (James 1:21; 4:7). And each Christian should live in humble, ready submission to others (Ephesians 5:21). In regards to submission within the family unit, 1 Corinthians 11:2–3, says that the husband is to submit to Christ (as Christ did to God the Father) and the wife is to submit to her husband.

There is much misunderstanding in our world today about the roles of husband and wife within a marriage. Even when the biblical roles are properly understood, many choose to reject them in favor of a supposed “emancipation” of women, with the result that the family unit is torn apart. It’s no surprise that the world rejects God’s design, but God’s people should be joyfully celebrating that design.

Submit is not a bad word. Submission is not a reflection of inferiority or lesser worth. Christ constantly submitted Himself to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42; John 5:30), without giving up an iota of His worth.

To counter the world’s misinformation concerning a wife’s submission to her husband, we should carefully note the following in Ephesians 5:22–24:1) A wife is to submit to one man (her husband), not to every man. The rule to submit does not extend to a woman’s place in society at large. 2) A wife is to willingly submit to her husband in personal obedience to the Lord Jesus. She submits to her husband because she loves Jesus. 3) The example of a wife’s submission is that of the church to Christ. 4) There is nothing said of the wife’s abilities, talents, or worth; the fact that she submits to her own husband does not imply that she is inferior or less worthy in any way. Also notice that there are no qualifiers to the command to submit, except “in everything.” So, the husband does not have to pass an aptitude test or an intelligence test before his wife submits. It may be a fact that she is better qualified than he to lead in many ways, but she chooses to follow the Lord’s instruction by submitting to her husband’s leadership. In so doing, a godly wife can even win her unbelieving husband to the Lord “without words” simply by her holy behavior (1 Peter 3:1).

Submission should be a natural response to loving leadership. When a husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25—33), then submission is a natural response from a wife to her husband. But, regardless of the husband’s love or lack thereof, the wife is commanded to submit “as to the Lord” (verse 22). This means that her obedience to God—her acceptance of His plan—will result in her submission to her husband. The “as to the Lord” comparison also reminds the wife that there is a higher authority to whom she is responsible. Thus, she is under no obligation to disobey civil law or God’s law in the name of “submission” to her husband. She submits in things that are right and lawful and God-honoring. Of course, she does not “submit” to abuse—that is not right or lawful or God-honoring. To try to use the principle of “submission” to justify abuse is to twist Scripture and promote evil.

The submission of the wife to the husband in Ephesians 5 does not allow the husband to be selfish or domineering. His command is to love (verse 25), and he is responsible before God to fulfill that command. The husband must exercise his authority wisely, graciously, and in the fear of the God to whom he must give an account.

When a wife is loved by her husband as the church is loved by Christ, submission is not difficult. Ephesians 5:24 says, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” In a marriage, submission is a position of giving honor and respect to the husband (see Ephesians 5:33) and completing what he is lacking in. It is God’s wise plan for how the family should function.

Commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “The woman was made out of Adam’s side. She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.” The immediate context of the commands to the husband and wife in Ephesians 5:19–33 involves the filling of the Spirit. Spirit-filled believers are to be worshipful (Eph 5:19), thankful (Eph 5:20), and submissive (Eph 5:21). Paul then follows this line of thought on Spirit-filled living and applies it to wives in Eph 5:22–24. A wife should submit to her husband, not because women are inferior (the Bible never teaches that), but because that is how God designed the marital relationship to function.GotQuestions.org


1 Timothy 2:12  But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

GT  1 Timothy 2:12 διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

NET  1 Timothy 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:12 I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.

RSV  1 Timothy 2:12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:12 and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness,

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:12 I give no permission for a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. A woman ought to be quiet,

NAB  1 Timothy 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:12 But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:12 I neither allow a woman to teach nor to exercise control over a man, but I insist on her remaining silent in such genderal situations.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:12 but I do not suffer a woman to teach nor to exercise authority over man, but to be in quietness;

GWN  1 Timothy 2:12 I don't allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. Instead, she should be quiet.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:12 In my opinion it is right for a woman not to be a teacher, or to have rule over a man, but to be quiet.

Related Passages:

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

1 Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

1 Corinthians 14:34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35  If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:40  But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.

Acts 18:26  and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.


But I do not allow (epitrepo) a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet (hesuchia) - Allow (permit) is in the present tense, conveying emphasizing a continual action, and thus the idea "I am not permitting (or "do not permit"). It points to an abiding attitude. Not (ouk) indicates absolute negation. This verse opens the proverbial can of worms and is difficult (in my opinion) to interpret dogmatically. See Cole's analysis below.

A T Robertson on to teach - 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.

J Vernon McGee has an interesting comment - These verses have to do with the learning and teaching of doctrine. Keep in mind that the women led in the mystery religions of Paul's day, and they were sex orgies. Paul is cautioning women not to speak publicly with the idea of making an appeal on the basis of sex.

Steven Cole comments "I realize that Paul opens a host of questions which he leaves unanswered.

  1. Can women teach men in a home Bible study (re-member, the early church met in homes)?
  2. What about Sunday School classes?
  3. What about the role of women in “para-church” ministries?
  4. Can they be in leadership positions over men? What about a woman teaching as long as she is in submission to male elders?
  5. What about a woman teaching through writing books or teaching a man individually (as Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos [Acts 18:26])?
  6. What about all the noteworthy exceptions in Scripture (Deborah, Huldah, Junia, etc.)?
  7. What about the many godly and effective women missionaries down through church history?

I can’t begin to answer all those questions! But I can give several principles that apply to the church. First, the office of elder is limited to men (1Ti 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-9 assume male elders, and in every N.T. instance elders are men; also, Jesus chose men as apostles with authority over the church). This means that the office of teaching elder (1 Tim. 5:17) is restricted to men. The Greek word for “teach” is used almost 100 times in the New Testament, and in only three instances does it refer to teaching individuals (Roy Zuck, cited by Ann L. Bowman, “Monograph” from the International School of Theology, “Ann Bowman's article -  Women in Ministry: An Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 2:11–15 p. 4, footnote 21). So Paul probably had in mind situations where women taught the entire church. Is Paul giving one prohibition (a woman should not teach men in a domineering way) or two (a woman should not teach men nor should she do anything else to exercise authority over men)? The Greek grammar indicates that Paul intends two distinct and yet closely related commands (Bowman, p. 5, footnote 31): A woman should not teach men, nor should she do anything else to exercise authority over men. So does Paul mean that a godly woman can never teach men? Then how do we explain God’s manifest blessing on women missionaries who have evangelized, planted the church, and taught whole cultures of men and women? We need to be careful not to put God in our doctrinal boxes. He is notorious for doing as He pleases. The many noteworthy exceptional women in Scripture tell us to be careful here. But the exceptions as well as the plain teaching of passages such as our text show us that the exceptions are just that. The norm should be men in leadership and teaching positions in the church. If God raises up a gifted woman, we ought to recognize her ministry. But even so, she will have an attitude of submission to male leadership. And, she will focus on teaching women. I think Elisabeth Elliot is a modern example of such a gifted woman.  (Conduct of Women in the Church)

Allow (give permission)(2010epitrepo  from epi = upon + trepo = to turn) means to turn to, entrust, hence to permit. In Mark 5:13, John 19:38, and Acts 21:39 it carries the sense of release from restraint in order to have freedom of choice. For example, in Mark 5:13 Legion gained freedom from being sent away, and instead was permitted to enter a herd of swine (see Mark 5:8-13). Gilbrant Epitrepō differs from aphiemi which is occasionally translated “allow” or “permit” in that aphiēmi lacks the sense of release from restraint. For example, in Matthew 7:4, “Allow me to remove the speck . . . ,” aphiēmi suggests a request that would meet no resistance. Epitrepō, on the other hand, carries the sense of release from a restraining activity to freedom or permission to engage in a preferred activity. Paul’s request in Acts 21:39 to preach the gospel in the face of a restraining order best illustrates this nuance In classical Greek epitrepō means “to allow or grant permission.” In the Septuagint (Genesis 39:6) Joseph is said to have certain responsibilities “entrusted” or “committed” to his care (see also Job 32:14). The Septuagint adds the meaning of “commission with duty or responsibility.” It is related to the primary meaning in that one is “permitted” to assume certain responsibilities. (Complete Biblical Library)

Teach (1321didasko from dáo= know or teach; English = didactic; see study of related noun didaskalia and the adjective didaktikos) means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal setting. In the 97 NT uses of didasko the meaning is virtually always to teach or instruct, although the purpose and content of the teaching must be determined from the context. Didasko means to teach a student in such a way that the will of the student becomes conformed to the teaching taught. So the teacher teaches in such a way that as the student is taught, he/she now changes his/her mind saying in essence ''I won't do it this way, but I will do it this way because I've learned this doctrine or this teaching.'' Doctrine determines direction of our behavior--conformed to world or to God? (cf Ro 12:1+) Teaching that Scripture finds significant is not that which gives information alone but which produces (Spirit enabled) transformation (2 Cor 3:18+), making disciples (learners) who seek to live supernaturally (enabled by the Spirit - Eph 5:18+) in loving obedience to the will of our Father Who art in Heaven.

Authority (831)(authenteo from autos = self + entuo or entuno = prepare or equip) is one who acts on his own authority and comes to mean to have control mean have total authority, to domineer or to lord it over. To act on one’s own authority, to exercise authority, to have mastery, to be an autocrat, to be dominating  Gilbrant - The self factor in the meaning is very strong, being enforced not only in autos but also by the nature of the verb entuno. Writers of classical Greek used authenteō to describe murders plotted against one’s own (self) family members for one’s own (self) benefit. Vincent adds that "the kindred noun authentes (is) one who does a thing with his own hand,...The verb means to do a thing one's self; hence, to exercise authority. The A.V. usurp authority is a mistake. Rend. to have or exercise dominion over." A T Robertson adds "Autodikeō was the literary word for playing the master while authenteō was the vernacular term. It comes from aut-hentes, a self-doer, a master, autocrat. It occurs in the papyri (substantive authentēs, master, verb authenteō, to domineer, adjective authentikos, authoritative, "authentic").

Believer's Study Bible - Since the epistle to Timothy was written sometime after the first Corinthian epistle, there is doubtless some evidence that Paul was dealing with a particular problem, as in the Corinthian congregation (1 Cor. 14:34), in which the women had usurped the leadership role and were "lording it over" the men. However, a careful study of the Scriptures as a whole indicates further significance to this very straightforward statement. The apostle Paul shows an unequaled esteem for and appreciation of the home. Throughout his epistles Paul is careful to present a thorough and consistent pattern for relationships within the home. In forbidding women to hold teaching/ruling positions, Paul is further protecting God-assigned lines of authority within the home. The Greek word andros, translated "man," may also be translated "husband." A wife, then, is not to instruct or rule over her husband. This does not rule out a teaching ministry for women (Titus 2:4), but, rather, in the case of married women, that ministry comes under the protection and direction of their respective husbands (Acts 18:26). In other words, a woman should give careful consideration to her husband's leadership in the teaching responsibilities she assumes within the church, not because of essential inferiority or inadequate intellectual faculties for reasoning and decision making but as a means of avoiding confusion and maintaining orderliness (cf. 1 Cor. 14:40). The Greek term hesuchia, translated "silence," may also be rendered "quiet," giving the picture of one who patiently accepts God-assigned authority and leadership and seeks to make herself valuable to God (1 Pet. 3:4). Concerning the role of women in the church, the N.T. clearly shows that women played a prominent role in the development of the church in the first century. This obviously included prophecy and prayer (1 Cor. 11:5), teaching (Titus 2:4, 5), personal instruction (Acts 18:26), testimony (John 4:28, 29), and hospitality (Acts 12:12). However, the divinely assigned leadership in the home does not end on the doorstep of the church. When a woman chooses to marry, she accepts the responsibility of voluntarily "lining up under" (hupotasso, Gk.) her own husband (cf. Eph. 5:22, 23; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1), not because the husband is superior ontologically, intellectually, physically, or spiritually but because he is given by God the assignment for headship (cf. Gen. 2:15-17; 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3). This is the same way every believer is to submit himself to Jesus Christ, "lining up under" His lordship, even as Jesus subjected Himself to the Father (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3; Phil. 2:7, 8). (Believer's Study Bible)

Walter Kaiser in Hard Sayings of the Bible  1Ti 2:11–12  No Women Teachers?, scroll down to page 634
The language here is seemingly straightforward and clear. But does Paul really mean what we think he means? And if he does mean it, is this an instruction he intended for universal application, regardless of historical context and circumstances?

This passage and 1 Timothy 2:13–15 are at the heart of the ongoing discussion of the place and role of women in church, home and society. Answers to the above questions are critical in that discussion.

This passage is a difficult one for yet another reason, namely, an emotional/experiential one. As a male, I am sure I cannot fully grasp the impact this apostolic word must have on women. But given that limitation, I can nonetheless understand something of the damage to one’s self-worth and sense of giftedness this restrictive word must evoke. We are living at a point in history in which women and men are recognized as equally gifted in intellectual ability and communication skills. In such a climate, the apostolic prohibition seems particularly difficult to understand and accept. For what is it about gender which militates against the full expression of the Creator’s gifts of heart and mind and spirit?

This question has often been answered with the assertion that clearly defined roles for men and women are divinely ordained and that Paul’s restrictive instruction is evidence of such a universal norm. That response, however, is problematic. The account of the creation of male and female in Genesis 1–2—which we take as a foundational theological statement of the Creator’s design and intention—affirms male and female as equal and complementary. Both are bearers, together, of God’s image (Gen 1:26–27). Both are given the mandate to responsible sovereignty over the created order (Gen 1:28). The creation of the woman is intended to rescue the man from his aloneness and to provide him with a complement (Gen 2:18). (Note: The Hebrew word translated “helper” (in Genesis 2:18 and 2:20), as a designation for the woman, is used only 16 more times in the Hebrew Bible. In those cases, it is always a designation of God as the One who saves, upholds and sustains his people (as in Ps 46:1). There is no sense in which this word connotes a position of inferiority or subordinate status. The word translated “suitable for” literally means “in front of,” signifying one who stands “face to face” with another, qualitatively the same, his essential equal, and therefore his “correspondent.”) 

Over against an ancient view that the gods played a trick on man by creating woman of inferior material, the creation account of Genesis affirms the woman to be of the same essence as man (“bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” Gen 2:23). Thus the view that God intended the woman for a restricted role in home, church and society cannot be grounded in the order of creation.

A restricted status for woman has been traditionally grounded in the account of the Fall (Gen 3) in both Jewish and Christian thought and practice. But it is clear from the context of Genesis 2–3 that the words of 3:16—“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”—do not announce God’s created design for a male hierarchy. Rather these words announce a cursed existence because of a broken relationship between the human creation and the Creator. A restricted place for woman, and male-over-female dominance, is thus not divine purpose but an expression of human sin.

For Paul, the purpose of Christ’s redemptive work was to set God’s creation free from the curse of Eden. Those “in Christ” were new creations (2 Cor 5:17), freed from the bondage of sin and its expression in human relationships (Rom 6:5–7). In the new humanity created in Christ, the culturally and religiously ingrained view that some human beings, on the basis of gender or race or social status, were in some sense inferior could no longer be maintained (Gal 3:26–28). That was surely one of Paul’s central theological convictions.

In discussing the passage in 1 Corinthians 14:33–40+, where Paul instructs women in the church to “remain silent,” we saw that this restriction was not universally applied either by Paul or by other early congregations. Women functioned in prominent leadership positions (Phoebe, Lydia, Euodia, Syntyche, Priscilla, Junia), designated as ministers (or deacons, Rom 16:1), fellow workers (Rom 16:3), colaborers in the gospel (Phil 4:2–9), apostles (or messengers, Rom 16:7). The Spirit of God empowered both men and women to be proclaimers of God’s redemptive work in Christ (Acts 2:14–18). Women’s participation in the edifying presentation of the gospel and vocal prayer in the congregation were a normal part of early church life (1 Cor 11).

In light of the above considerations, reasons for the particular restriction imposed on women in Timothy’s congregation must be discovered from within the text and the situation in the church which Paul addresses. If, as we have seen, a curtailed role for women was neither a part of the divine intention in creation nor a normative aspect of the redeemed order, then the curtailment of their speaking and teaching and leading—in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2—must be in response to critical, local situations. Investigation of 1 Corinthians 14 revealed such a crisis setting in Corinth. A critical situation in the life and faith of Timothy’s congregation seems likewise the reason for Paul’s instruction here.2

Upon reading 1 Timothy, one becomes immediately aware that the integrity of the Christian faith is at stake. There are some in the church who teach false doctrines and are occupied with myths and other speculative ideas which militate against sound and sincere faith (1 Tim 1:3–4). Some have wandered into vain debates, seeking to be teachers without understanding and discernment (1 Tim 1:6–7). There is throughout a concern for maintaining and guarding the truth of the faith (1 Tim 1:19; 2:4–7; 3:14–16; 4:1–3, 6–7, 16;6:1–5, 12).

We do not know the identity of the false teachers or the full content of their teaching. From the instructions given, we can conclude that the false teaching led to a disregard for proper decorum and practices in the church (1 Tim 2:8–15) as well as to a rejection of the institution of marriage (1 Tim 4:3). In light of this last aspect of the heretical teaching, it is noteworthy that particular attention is directed to young widows (in 1 Tim 5:9–15), who are urged to marry, have children and manage their homes (1 Tim 5:14). When these normal, socially prescribed roles and functions are neglected or rejected, these women are prone to “gossiping” and being “busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Tim 5:13).

On the basis of this data, at least two reconstructions of the situation in Timothy’s congregation at Ephesus are possible: (1) the women in the church at Ephesus were the primary advocates and promoters of the heretical teachings which were upsetting accepted patterns of congregational and home life; (2) the women in the church had been particularly influenced by the heretical teachers. Such a situation in the Ephesian church is addressed in 2 Timothy 3:6–9, where women, the special targets of those “who oppose the truth” (2 Tim 3:8), become “unable to acknowledge the truth” (2 Tim 3:7).

In either case, Paul’s restrictive word in 1 Timothy 2:11–12 must be understood within a context where false teaching is at issue. The general prohibition against all those who “teach false doctrines” (1 Tim 1:3) is now focused specifically on the women who have fallen prey to such false teaching or who are involved in its promulgation.

The admonition of 1 Timothy 2:11—“learn in quietness and full submission”—is thus directed at the women who, on the basis of the heretical teaching, have become loud voices, strident advocates of ideas that are upsetting the ordered contexts of congregational and home life. The “submission” enjoined on them is most likely a submission to the elders in the church, who are guardians of the truth and ordered worship. The prohibition against their teaching is occasioned by their involvement in false teachings. Finally, the prohibition against “authority over a man” (1 Tim 2:12) must be understood within the context of their rejection of the authority of others, probably the male leaders in Ephesus whose orthodox, authoritative teaching is being undermined by their heretical views. The unusual Greek word used carries primarily the negative sense of “grasping for” or “usurping authority.” Thus, the restriction of women’s place and participation in the life and ministry of the church at Ephesus is most probably “directed against women involved in false teaching who have abused proper exercise of authority in the church (not denied by Paul elsewhere to women) by usurpation and domination of the male leaders and teachers in the church at Ephesus.”3 Paul goes on to ground this instruction in reflections on selected passages from Genesis.

See also comments on

  1. Genesis 2:18 - A Helper of Man? Scroll to page 61
  2. Genesis 3:16 - Is Childbearing a Curse or a Blessing? Scroll to page 65 
  3. 1 Corinthians 11:3 - Head of Woman Is Man? Scroll to page 562
  4. 1 Corinthians 11:7 - Woman the Glory of Man? Scroll to page 565
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:33–34 - Women to Keep Silence? Scroll to page 577

1 TIMOTHY 2:12–14—Does the Bible limit the ministry of women? - Norman Geisler - When Critics Ask - go to page 420 

PROBLEM: Paul said here that he did not “permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 14:34 he added, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak” (cf. 1 Peter 3:5–6). Doesn’t this deny women a ministry and degrade their personality?

SOLUTION: Not at all. When properly understood in context, these and many other passages in the Bible exalt the role of women and give them a tremendous ministry in the body of Christ. Several things should be kept in mind on the topic of the role of women in the church.

First, the Bible declares that women, like men, are in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). That is, they are equal with men by nature. There is no essential difference—both male and female are equally human by creation.

Second, both women and men are equal by redemption. They both have the same Lord and both share equally in exactly the same salvation. For in Christ “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Third, there are no sex symbols on the ministry gifts listed in the Bible. It does not say, “gift of teaching—male; gift of helps—female.” In other words, women have the same gifts for ministry to the body of Christ that men do.

Fourth, throughout the Bible, God gifted, blessed, and greatly used women in the ministry. This includes Miriam, the first minister of music (Ex. 15:20), Deborah (Jud. 4:4), Huldah the prophetess (2 Chron. 34:22), Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36), Priscilla the Bible teacher (Acts 18:26), and Phoebe the deaconess (Rom. 16:1).

Fifth, Jesus had many women who assisted Him in the ministry (cf. Luke 23:49; John 11). Indeed, it is very significant that in a patriarchal culture that Jesus chose women for His first two resurrection appearances (Matt. 28:1–10; John 20:10–18). St. Peter did not make it until the third round (1 Cor. 15:5)!

Sixth, whatever Paul may have meant by the “women be silent” passages, he certainly did not mean that they should have no ministry in the church. This is clear for several reasons. For one thing, in the same book (of 1 Corinthians), Paul instructed women on how they should pray and prophesy in the church, namely, in a decent and orderly way (cf. 11:5). Further, there were also times when all the men were to be “silent” as well, namely, when someone else was giving an utterance from God (cf. 14:28). Finally, Paul did not hesitate to use women to assist him in the ministry, as is indicated by the crucial role he gave to Phoebe in delivering to its destination the great epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:1).

Seventh, when understood in context, the “silence” passages are not negating the ministry of women, but are limiting the authority of women. Paul asserts that women were not permitted “to have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12). Likewise, he follows his exhortation to “keep silent” by reminding them to be “submissive” (1 Cor. 14:34). Of course, men too were under authority and needed to submit to the headship of Christ over them (1 Cor. 11:3). Indeed, the ultimate proof that there is nothing degrading about being submissive is that Christ, who was God in human flesh, is always submissive to the Father, both on earth (Phil. 2:5–8) and even in heaven (1 Cor. 15:28). That male headship and leadership is not simply a cultural matter is evident by the fact that it is based on the very order of creation (1 Cor. 11:9; 1 Tim. 2:13). Thus, elders are to be men, “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2). This, however, in no way demeans or diminishes the role of women, either in the family or in the church. The fact that men cannot have babies is not demeaning to their humanity or their role in the family. It is simply that God has not granted them this function, but a different one.

Eighth, God has given women an exalted role both by order of creation and redemption. First of all, Eve was not created from Adam’s feet to be walked on by him, nor from his head to rule over him, but from his side to be equal to him and companion of him (cf. Gen. 2:19–25). Furthermore, every man ever born was carried in a woman’s womb (1 Cor. 11:12) and then, the vast majority were nurtured by her through infancy, childhood, and youth until they grew up. In addition, when God chose the vessel by which He Himself would become manifest in human flesh (John 1:14), it was not by direct creation of a body (as Adam), or in assuming a visible form (as the angel of the Lord), nor was it by cloning a male human being. Rather, it was by being miraculously conceived and carried to full term in a woman’s womb, the blessed virgin Mary (Matt. 1:20–21; Gal. 4:4). What is more, God has, through the birth and nurturing process, endowed woman with the most marvelous role in forming all human beings, including every man, at the most tender and impressionable time in their lives, both prenatal (cf. Ps. 139:13–18) and postnatal. Finally, in the church, God has made women “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28) and bestowed upon them the gifts of the spirit (1 Cor. 12; 14; Rom. 12) whereby they can edify the body of Christ, including prophecy (cf. Acts 2:17–18; 21:9) and teaching (Acts 18:26; Titus 2:4). (When Critics Ask - go to page 420 )

Related Resource:

QUESTION - What does the Bible say about women pastors? (ED: THIS ARTICLE IS INCLUDED AS IT ADDRESSES WOMEN TEACHING MEN). (SEE related video from gotquestions.org)

ANSWER - There is perhaps no more hotly debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors. As a result, it is very important to not see this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women, and there are men who believe women can serve as pastors and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of biblical interpretation.

The Word of God proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:11–12). In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world (1 Timothy 2:13–14). God, through the apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors over men, which definitely includes preaching to them, teaching them publicly, and exercising spiritual authority over them.

There are many objections to this view of women in pastoral ministry. A common one is that Paul restricts women from teaching because in the first century, women were typically uneducated. However, 1 Timothy 2:11–14 nowhere mentions educational status. If education were a qualification for ministry, then the majority of Jesus’ disciples would not have been qualified. A second common objection is that Paul only restricted the women of Ephesus from teaching men (1 Timothy was written to Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus). Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, and women were the authorities in that branch of paganism—therefore, the theory goes, Paul was only reacting against the female-led customs of the Ephesian idolaters, and the church needed to be different. However, the book of 1 Timothy nowhere mentions Artemis, nor does Paul mention the standard practice of Artemis worshipers as a reason for the restrictions in 1 Timothy 2:11–12.

A third objection is that Paul is only referring to husbands and wives, not men and women in general. The Greek words for “woman” and “man” in 1 Timothy 2 could refer to husbands and wives; however, the basic meaning of the words is broader than that. Further, the same Greek words are used in verses 8–10. Are only husbands to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger and disputing (verse 8)? Are only wives to dress modestly, have good deeds, and worship God (verses 9–10)? Of course not. Verses 8–10 clearly refer to all men and women, not just husbands and wives. There is nothing in the context that would indicate a narrowing to husbands and wives in verses 11–14.

Yet another objection to this interpretation of women in pastoral ministry is in relation to women who held positions of leadership in the Bible, specifically Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. It is true that these women were chosen by God for special service to Him and that they stand as models of faith, courage, and, yes, leadership. However, the authority of women in the Old Testament is not relevant to the issue of pastors in the church. The New Testament Epistles present a new paradigm for God’s people—the church, the body of Christ—and that paradigm involves an authority structure unique to the church, not for the nation of Israel or any other Old Testament entity.

Similar arguments are made using Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more prominent in ministry than her husband. Did Priscilla and her husband teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to Apollos? Yes, in their home they “explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26). Does the Bible ever say that Priscilla pastored a church or taught publicly or became the spiritual leader of a congregation of saints? No. As far as we know, Priscilla was not involved in ministry activity in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11–14.

In Romans 16:1, Phoebe is called a “deacon” (or “servant”) in the church and is highly commended by Paul. But, as with Priscilla, there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that Phoebe was a pastor or a teacher of men in the church. “Able to teach” is given as a qualification for elders, but not for deacons (1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6–9).

The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11–14 makes the reason why women cannot be pastors perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with “for,” giving the “cause” of Paul’s statement in verses 11–12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because “Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived” (verses 13–14). God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam. The order of creation has universal application in the family (Ephesians 5:22–33) and in the church.

The fact that Eve was deceived is also given in 1 Timothy 2:14 as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This does not mean that women are gullible or that they are all more easily deceived than men. If all women are more easily deceived, why would they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? The text simply says that women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. God has chosen to give men the primary teaching authority in the church.

Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and helping/serving. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them. GotQuestions.org

QUESTION - What roles can women fill in ministry?

ANSWER - Women in ministry is an issue upon which Bible-believing Christians can and do disagree. The point of separation centers on the passages of Scripture that forbid women to speak in church or "assume authority over a man" (1 Timothy 2:12; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:34). The disagreement is whether or not those passages were relevant only to the era in which they were penned. Some contend that, since there is neither “Jew nor Greek . . . male nor female . . . but you are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28), women are free to pursue any field of ministry open to men. Others hold that 1 Timothy 2:12 still applies today, since the basis for the command is not cultural but universal, being rooted in the order of creation (1 Timothy 2:13-14).

1Peter 5:1-4 details the qualifications for an elderPresbuteros is the Greek word used sixty-six times in the New Testament to indicate “seasoned male overseer.” It is the masculine form of the word. The feminine form, presbutera, is never used in reference to elders or shepherds. Based on the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the role of an elder is interchangeable with the bishop/pastor/overseer (Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3). And since, according to 1 Timothy 2:12, a woman should not “teach or exercise authority over a man,” it seems clear that the position of elders and pastors—who must be equipped to teach, lead the congregation, and oversee their spiritual growth (1 Timothy 3:2)—should be reserved for men only.

However, elder/bishop/pastor appears to be the only office reserved for men. Women have always played a significant role in the growth of the church, even being among the few who witnessed the crucifixion of Christ when most of the disciples had run away (Matthew 27:55; John 19:25). The apostle Paul held women in high regard, and in many of his letters to the churches he greeted specific women by name (Romans 16:6, 12; Colossians 4:15; Philippians 4:2-3; Philemon 1:2). Paul addresses these women as "co-workers," and they clearly served the Lord to the benefit of the whole church (Philippians 4:3; Colossians 4:15).

Offices were created in the early church to fit the needs of the body. Although many modern churches interchange the positions of elder and deacon, they were not the same office. Deacons were appointed to serve in a physical capacity as the need arose (Acts 6:2-3). There is no clear prohibition against women serving in this way. In fact, Romans 16:1 may indicate that a woman named Phoebe was a respected deaconess in the church at Cenchrea.

There is no scriptural precedent that forbids women from also serving as worship leaders, youth ministers, or children’s directors. The only restriction is that they do not assume a role of spiritual authority over adult men. Since the concern in Scripture appears to be the issue of spiritual authority rather than function, any role that does not bestow such spiritual authority over adult men is permissible.GotQuestions.org

Related Resources: All from gotquestions.org


  1.  The Old Testament (ANE culture)
    1.  Culturally women were considered property
      1.  included in list of property (Exodus 20:17)
      2.  treatment of slave women (Exodus 21:7-11)
      3.  women's vows annullable by socially responsible male (Numbers 30)
      4.  women as spoils of war (Deuteronomy 20:10-14; 21:10-14)
    2.  Practically there was a mutuality
      1.  male and female made in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27)
      2.  honor father and mother (Exodus 20:12 [Deut. 5:16])
      3.  reverence mother and father (Leviticus 19:3; 20:9)
      4.  men and women could be Nazirites (Numbers 6:1-2)
      5.  daughters have right of inheritance (Numbers 27:1-11)
      6.  part of covenant people (Deuteronomy 29:10-12)
      7.  observe teaching of father and mother (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20)
      8.  sons and daughters of Heman (Levite family) led music in temple (1 Chronicles 25:5-6)
      9.  sons and daughters will prophesy in new age (Joel 2:28-29)
    3.  Women were in leadership roles
      1.  Moses' sister, Miriam, called a prophetess (Exodus 15:20-21, also note Micah 6:4)
      2.  a married woman, Deborah, also a prophetess (cf. Jdgs. 4:4), led all the tribes (Jdgs 4:4-5; 5:7)
      3.  Huldah was a prophetess whom King Josiah contacted to read and interpret the newly-found "Book of the Law" (2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chr. 34:22-27)
      4.  Queen Esther, a godly woman, saved the Jews in Persia
  2.  The New Testament
    1.  Culturally women in both Judaism and the Greco-Roman world were second class citizens with few rights or privileges (the exception was Macedonia).
    2.  Women in leadership roles in the NT
      1.  Elizabeth and Mary, godly women available to God (Luke 1-2)
      2.  Anna, a prophetess serving at the temple (Luke 2:36)
      3.  Lydia, believer and leader of a house church in Macedonia (Acts 16:14,40)
      4.  Philip's four virgin daughters were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9)
      5.  Phoebe, deaconess of church at Cenchrea (Rom. 16:1; also note 1 Tim. 3:11)
      6.  Prisca (Priscilla), Paul's fellow-worker and teacher of Apollos (Acts 18:26; Rom. 16:3)
      7.  Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, Julia, Nereus' sister, several women co-workers of Paul (Rom. 16:6-16; see SPECIAL TOPIC: WOMEN IN MINISTRY)
      8.  Junia (KJV), possibly a woman apostle (Rom. 16:7)
      9.  Euodia and Syntyche, co-workers with Paul (Phil. 4:2-3)
  3.  How does a modern believer balance the divergent biblical examples?
    1.  How does one determine historical or cultural truths, which apply only to the original context, from eternal truths valid for all churches, all believers of all ages?
      1.  We must take the intent of the original inspired author very seriously. The Bible is the Word of God and the only source for faith and practice.
      2.  We must deal with the obviously historically-conditioned inspired texts.
        1.  the cultus (i.e., ritual and liturgy) of Israel (cf. Acts 15; Galatians 3)
        2.  first century Judaism
        3.  Paul's obviously historically-conditioned statements in 1 Corinthians
           (1) the legal system of pagan Rome (1 Corinthians 6)
           (2) remaining a slave (1 Cor. 7:20-24)
           (3) celibacy (1 Cor. 7:1-35; see SPECIAL TOPIC: CELIBACY AND MARRIAGE)
           (4) virgins (1 Cor. 7:36-38)
           (5) food sacrificed to an idol (1 Corinthians 8; 10:23-33)
           (6) unworthy actions at Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11)
      3.  God fully and clearly revealed Himself to a particular culture, a particular day.  We must take seriously the revelation, but not every aspect of its historical accommodation. The Word of God was written in human words, addressed to a particular culture at a particular time.
    2.  Biblical interpretation must seek the original author's intent.  What was he saying to his day?  This is foundational and crucial for proper interpretation.  But then we must apply this to our own day.  The real interpretive problem may be defining biblical terms.
      1.  Were there more ministries than pastors who were seen as leadership?
      2.  Were deaconesses or prophetesses seen as leaders?

        It is quite clear that Paul, in 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:9-15, is asserting that women should not take the lead in public worship!  But how do I apply that today?  I do not want Paul's culture or my culture to silence God's eternal Word and will.  Possibly Paul's day was too limiting, but also my day may be too open.  I feel so uncomfortable saying that Paul's words and teachings are conditional, first century, local situational truths.  Who am I that I should let my mind or my culture negate an inspired author?!  Gordon Fee, Gospel and Spirit, has really helped me.

        However, what do I do when there are biblical examples of women leaders (even in Paul's writings, cf. Romans 16)?  A good example of this is Paul's discussion of public worship in 1 Corinthians 11-14.  In 1 Cor. 11:5 he seems to allow women's preaching and praying in public worship, with their heads covered, yet in 14:34-35 he demands they remain silent!  There were deaconesses (cf. Rom. 16:1; see SPECIAL TOPIC: PAUL'S USE OF WOMEN IN MINISTRY) and prophetesses (cf. Luke 2:36 and Acts 21:9).  It is this diversity that allows me freedom to identify Paul's comments (as relates to restrictions on women) as limited to first century Corinth and Ephesus (possibly women as surrogate speakers for the false teachers in homes or house churches).  In both churches there were problems with women exercising their newly-found freedom (cf. Bruce Winter, After Paul Left Corinth), which could have caused difficulty for the church in reaching their society for Christ.  Their freedom had to be limited so that the gospel could be more effective.

        My day is just the opposite of Paul's.  In my day the gospel might be limited if articulate, trained women are not allowed to share the gospel, not allowed to lead! What is the ultimate goal of public worship?  Is it not evangelism and discipleship?  Can God be honored and pleased with women leaders?  The Bible as a whole seems to say "yes"!

        I want to yield to Paul; my theology is primarily Pauline.  I do not want to be overly influenced or manipulated by modern feminism!  However, I feel the church has been slow to respond to obvious biblical truths, like the inappropriateness of slavery, racism, bigotry, and sexism.  It has also been slow to respond appropriately to the abuse of women in the modern world.  God in Christ set free the slave and the woman.  I dare not let a culture-bound text reshackle them.

        One more point: as an interpreter I know that Corinth was a very disrupted church.  The charismatic gifts were prized and flaunted. Women may have been caught up in this.  I also believe that Ephesus was being affected by false teachers who were taking advantage of women and using them as surrogate speakers in the house churches of Ephesus.

    3.  Suggestions for further reading
      1.  How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Doug Stuart (pp. 61-77)
      2.  Gospel and Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics by Gordon Fee
      3.  Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C. Kaiser, Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Branch (pp. 613-616; 665-667)

1 Timothy 2:13  For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:13 Ἀδὰμ γὰρ πρῶτος ἐπλάσθη, εἶτα Εὕα.

KJV  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

NET  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first and then Eve.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was created first, then Eve.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

NIV  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

RSV  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

YLT  1 Timothy 2:13 for Adam was first formed, then Eve,

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:13 because Adam was formed first and Eve afterwards,

NAB  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve;

MIT  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:13 for Adam was formed first, then Eve:

GWN  1 Timothy 2:13 After all, Adam was formed first, then Eve.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve;

Related Passages

Genesis 1:27+   God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 2:7; 18; 22+  Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (2:18) Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
(2:22) The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

1 Corinthians 11:8-9+ For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

For it was Adam who was first created (plasso) , and then Eve - For is a term of explanation, in this context explaining the reason women are to be submissive. As noted below the verb plasso describes creation by an artist and here of course we see the greatest Artist, God Himself, molding and forming Eve out of Adam's rib! No wonder women are more attractive than men! 

Henry Morris - The intended leadership role for men in the basic institutions of the home and church dates from the creation itself. That is, Eve was formed from Adam's side to be "an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18). This is not an invention of the supposedly anti-feminist apostle, as some have alleged but the stipulation of God Himself, even before the entrance of sin and the curse into the world. This in no way means that man is superior to woman in God's sight, for both were created "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27), and both are "one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Each, however, was created for a distinctive role and purpose, and neither is truly fulfilled apart from that.

Donald Guthrie - In 1 Corinthians 11:9, Paul had already made use of the argument that the priority of man’s creation places him in a position of advantage over woman. The assumption seems to be that the original creation, with the Creator’s own imprimatur upon it, must set a precedent for determining the true order of the sexes. Yet chronological order alone cannot in this case be regarded as significant since Adam was created after the animals and was nevertheless given dominion over them. The point here is that mankind consisted of a pair (Adam and Eve). Eve was intended as a companion to Adam. Their relationship is not to be considered as competitive but as complementary. (BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

Regarding the statement then Eve, creationist Henry Morris comments that "There is no conceivable way in which some process of evolution could first form men and then women. According to theistic evolution, both male and female human beings evolved simultaneously from a population of hominids, and this verse, as well as many others, flatly contradicts this notion. "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (1 Corinthians 11:8,9).

Believer's Study Bible - In the order of creation on the sixth day, God formed man to rule over the world He had made. After forming man from the dust of the ground, He took a part of the man's side (sela`, Heb.) and made for him a helper (`ezer, Heb.) corresponding to him (kenegdo, Heb.), a "counterpart," one who would complete him (cf. Gen. 2:18, 21-23). The function or role of the woman is further illustrated in the order of creation.  (Believer's Study Bible)

Steven ColeThe reasons for submission are the order of creation and the order of the fall (1Ti 2:13-14).   It is compelling that every time Paul cites reasons for gender-based distinctions in the church, he goes to the Old Testament. This means that we can’t dismiss this as a cultural matter that doesn’t apply to our day. God could have created Adam and Eve simultaneously, but He did not. He first created Adam and later created Eve to be a helper for Adam, not vice versa. Paul explains (1Co 11:9+): “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” Thus while being equal with Adam as an image-bearer of God, Eve was yet to be subject to Adam so that their relationship reflected the image of God and His relationship to His creation. So Paul is saying (1Ti 2:13) that the order in creation should be reflected in the church. (Conduct of Women in the Church)

Related Resources:

Created (4111)(plasso) means to form, to mold, as what an artisan does, God of course being the Supreme Artist in making Eve (1Ti 2:13)! To form a soft substance as a potter does clay (Ro 9:20, the only other NT use).  Plasma is a derivative of plasso and means something molded. In the Septuagint plasso is used of God's creative ability in Ge 2:7, 8, 15, 19+. BDAG adds this nuance - to direct personal character or cultural formation. In Liddell-Scott used figuratively to mold and form by education and/or training; having formed himself in face, i.e. composed his countenance, metaph. to make up, fabricate, forge,

Gilbrant - In classical Greek the verb plassō is used of the creative activity of gods and especially of men. It includes both material products (e.g., an idol) and ideas. When used in connection with divine creation, it is dualistic: a chief god makes souls, but lesser gods shape (plassō) bodies. The Septuagint and the New Testament lack this dualism. In the former, plassō is used frequently for the sovereign creative activity of Yahweh. Most familiar is Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Note also, for example, Isaiah 43:1: “ . . . the Lord . . . he who created (poieō [4020]) you, O Jacob, he who formed (plassō) you, O Israel” (NIV). Plassō is used twice in the New Testament. In Romans 9:20 Paul quoted Isaiah 29:16: “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” (NIV). The common potter/clay imagery in these passages emphasizes divine sovereignty (as in Isaiah 45:8-10; Jeremiah 18:6). This verb is also used in 1 Timothy 2:13 where woman is urged to be submissive to man because Eve was “formed” after Adam. Note that she was not inferior flesh. Both were “formed”; both were God’s work. Submission is based on order. (Complete Biblical Library)

Plasso in the Septuagint - Gen. 2:7; Gen. 2:8; Gen. 2:15; Gen. 2:19; Exod. 32:4; 1 Ki. 12:33; 2 Ki. 19:25; Job 10:8; Job 10:9; Job 34:15; Job 38:14; Ps. 33:15; Ps. 74:17; Ps. 90:2; Ps. 94:9; Ps. 94:20; Ps. 95:5; Ps. 104:26; Ps. 119:73; Ps. 139:4; Ps. 139:16; Prov. 24:12; Isa. 27:11; Isa. 29:16; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:7; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 44:9; Isa. 44:10; Isa. 44:21; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 49:5; Isa. 53:11; Jer. 1:5; Jer. 10:16; Jer. 18:11; Jer. 19:1; Jer. 33:2; Jer. 51:19; Hab. 1:12; Hab. 2:18; Zech. 12:1;

1 Timothy 2:14  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:14 καὶ Ἀδὰμ οὐκ ἠπατήθη, ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἐξαπατηθεῖσα ἐν παραβάσει γέγονεν·

KJV  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

NET  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

RSV  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, into transgression came,

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:14 and it was not Adam who was led astray but the woman who was led astray and fell into sin.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:14 Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:

MIT  1 Timothy 2:14 Moreover, Adam was not the one deceived; but the woman, being deluded, asserted herself in transgression.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:14 and Adam was not deceived; but the woman, having been deceived, was in transgression.

GWN  1 Timothy 2:14 Besides that, Adam was not deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and sinned.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not taken by deceit, but the woman, being tricked, became a wrongdoer.

Related Passages:

Genesis 3:6; 12+  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (3:12) The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

2 Corinthians 11:3+ But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived (exapatao) Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.


And it was not Adam who was deceived (apatao), but the woman being deceived (exapatao), fell into transgression - Eve was deceived but Adam disobeyed a direct command from God when Eve offered him the forbidden fruit. Adam had no excuse. Eve did know something about this command through her husband Adam who was her God-assigned leader and protector (Ge 2:15-17).As noted below (exapatao) the preposition ek strengthens the meaning of the verb apatao, conveying the idea that the one being deceived is deceived completely and utterly!  Exapatao is in the passive voice, corresponding to the deception coming from an outside source (i.e., the devil). 

Fell into transgression - Fell is the verb ginomai which means to come into existence, in this context into existence as a sinner, where the perfect tense describes past completed act (ate the forbidden fruit) and ongoing effect or abiding state. Transgression is parabasis which means literally to step on one side and thus a stepping across a line, and always implies a breach of God's word, in this case do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (Ge 2:17+). Parabasis refers to the act of a person stepping beyond a fixed limit into forbidden territory, exactly what Eve did! And men don't forget that Paul did not absolve Adam from responsibility in the entry of sin into the world is evident from Romans 5:12+, where Eve is not even mentioned (Why is Adam blamed for the fall of humanity when Eve sinned first?)! 

Donald Guthrie -  Another reason why woman must not teach man is now added. Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman. Whereas Eve was deceived or beguiled, Adam sinned with his eyes open. As Bengel says, ‘The serpent deceived the woman; the woman did not deceive the man, but persuaded him’ (Gen. 3:17). Logically this should make Adam more culpable, but Paul is concerned here primarily with the inadvisability of women teachers. Is it possible that since Eve is here specifically in mind, the point being made is that she misled Adam because she was not fully acquainted with the nature of the prohibited tree and was not therefore in a position to instruct Adam? If this view were tenable, it would suggest that Paul’s prohibition of women teaching was conditioned by the background of the basic lack of education of women in the contemporary world. This would explain the emphasis on learning rather than teaching in verses 11 and 12. Such a suggestion has its appeal, although its interpretation of the Genesis passage is somewhat forced. Nevertheless, the question of women teachers cannot be divorced from the first-century disparity between men and women in the matter of education.(BORROW The Pastoral Epistles)

John MacArthur - Eve was not suited by nature to assume the position of ultimate responsibility. When she stepped out from under the protection and leadership of Adam, she was highly vulnerable and fell. And, of course, when Adam violated his leadership role and followed Eve (though it was not he who was deceived), the perversion of God’s order was complete. The Fall resulted, then, not simply from disobedience to God’s command, but from violating God’s appointed roles for the sexes. That is not to say that Adam was less culpable than Eve, or that she was more defective. Although he was not deceived by Satan, as was Eve, Adam still chose to disobey God. As the head of their relationship, he bore ultimate responsibility. That is why the New Testament relates the Fall to Adam’s sin, not Eve’s (Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 15:21–22). Headship by the man, then, was part of God’s design from the beginning, and he bears the responsibility for its success or failure. The tragic experience of the garden encounter with the serpent confirmed the wisdom of that design. (See 1 Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Steven Cole notes that after noting the order of creation (Adam, then Eve), "he adds the order of the fall (1Ti 2:14). Paul isn’t implying that Adam was less guilty than Eve, nor is he putting all the blame on Eve. Both were culpable (Ro 5:12). Nor is Paul implying that women are constitutionally more prone to deception than men. The Bible is clear that we all are easily deceived by sin and false doctrine. What Paul is getting at is that in the fall, the God-ordained roles were reversed. Satan didn’t approach Adam, but rather Eve, so that he could upset the reflection of God’s image in the original couple by enticing the woman to act independently of her husband’s and God’s authority. She didn’t need to remain under her husband or God; she could attain god-like existence by acting on her own. So Paul is saying here that this role reversal that brought such awful consequences on the human race should not be repeated in the church. The responsibility for teaching and leadership in the church falls on qualified men (1Ti 3:1-7).  (Conduct of Women in the Church)

Believer's Study Bible - The woman's susceptibility to deception is better explained by her secondhand knowledge of God's limitation than by any suggestion that her intellectual faculties were inferior to the man's. Quite the contrary, both man and woman are made in the image of God and in essence stand before Him on equal footing (cf. Gen. 1:27; 5:2; Matt. 19:4; Gal. 3:28; 1 Pet. 3:7).  (Believer's Study Bible)

Henry Morris -  In addition to the nature and purpose of her creation, there is a secondary reason why women should not be taking the leadership role in the home or church. When the first woman took such a role, yielding to the temptation to reject God's Word without first consulting her husband, she then induced Adam to sin also, thereby bringing sin into God's perfect world (Genesis 3:6; Romans 5:12). Adam was not deceived by Satan's lie, but deliberately associated himself also with Eve in her sin because of her wanting him to join her in eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:12) and, presumably, also because of his love for her and his willingness to share her punishment. The many daughters of Eve share the trusting nature of their first mother and so (in general, at least) are more easily deceived by those evil spirits who can masquerade as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Although there may be exceptions when, for want of masculine leadership, a Christian woman may be forced to assume the spiritual leadership in the home (for example, Timothy's own mother and grandmother) or even in the family of God (Deborah--Judges 4:4,8), this is not the divinely ordained way. There is no New Testament example of a woman serving as an elder or bishop or pastor of a local church, with the possible exception of the false prophetess, Jezebel, in the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:20+), who was, evidently, herself also deceived by Satan. (The Defender's Study Bible)

Deceived (538apatao from apate = deceit, that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement or influence) (Click in depth study of the root word apate) means to lead astray, mislead, cheat, delude, beguile, seduce into error. Apatao means to cause someone to have misleading or erroneous views concerning the truth. The chief sense in the NT is that of ethical enticement (or probably more accurately enticement to unethical thought, words, and deeds), specifically of enticing to sin.

Apatao - 3x - Eph. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:14; Jas. 1:26

Deceived (1818exapatao from ek = intensifies meaning of root + apatáo = seduce, deceive - see study of related word apate) means to beguile thoroughly, deceive completely or seduce (persuade to disobedience, lead astray by persuasion or false promises) wholly. The result is to lead astray. To cause a subject to believe or accept false ideas about something with the implication of that one is led out of the right way into error and especially to sin.  Richards writes that "Apatao and its derivatives indicate ethical enticement… Deception sometimes comes from within, as our desires impel us to deceive. But more often in the NT, deceit is error urged by external evil powers or by those locked into the world's way of thinking." (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)

Exapatao - 6v - Rom. 7:11; Rom. 16:18; 1 Co. 3:18; 2 Co. 11:3; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 2:14

Related Resources:

1 Timothy 2:15  But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

BGT  1 Timothy 2:15 σωθήσεται δὲ διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας, ἐὰν μείνωσιν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ καὶ ἁγιασμῷ μετὰ σωφροσύνης·

KJV  1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

NET  1 Timothy 2:15 But she will be delivered through childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.

CSB  1 Timothy 2:15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.

ESV  1 Timothy 2:15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing-- if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

NIV  1 Timothy 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

NLT  1 Timothy 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

NRS  1 Timothy 2:15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

RSV  1 Timothy 2:15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

YLT  1 Timothy 2:15 and she shall be saved through the child-bearing, if they remain in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.

NKJ  1 Timothy 2:15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

NJB  1 Timothy 2:15 Nevertheless, she will be saved by child-bearing, provided she lives a sensible life and is constant in faith and love and holiness.

NAB  1 Timothy 2:15 But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

ASV  1 Timothy 2:15 but she shall be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

MIT  1 Timothy 2:15 However, a woman's prestige will be saved through her role in childbearing, conditional on the women remaining in faith, love, and holiness combined with wisdom.

DBY  1 Timothy 2:15 But she shall be preserved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with discretion.

GWN  1 Timothy 2:15 However, she and all women will be saved through the birth of the child, if they lead respectable lives in faith, love, and holiness.

BBE  1 Timothy 2:15 But if they go on in faith and love and holy self-control, she will be kept safe at the time of childbirth.

But women will be preserved through the bearing of children

Steven Cole asks in light of what Paul has just stated in 1Ti 2:14 "How then can women serve in the church? If they can’t assume leadership and teaching roles over men, what can they do? Paul goes on to show that a woman’s normal sphere of ministry is in the home. If she serves in her God-appointed sphere, she will receive her reward. The reward for submission is salvation from the curse (1Ti 2:15). Many commentators call 1Ti 2:15 one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament to interpret. As can be expected, many different interpretations have been suggested, each hinging on different lexical and grammatical variables. I can’t go into great detail, but here are a few:

(1) Women will be kept safe (physically; the Greek word for “preserved” is “saved”) through childbirth in spite of the curse of the fall. The problem with this view is that it isn’t true: many godly women have died in childbirth.

(2) Women will be saved (spiritually) through the Childbirth, namely, the birth of Christ, the seed of the woman, who brought salvation to the human race. The problem with this view is, if this were Paul’s meaning, “he could hardly have chosen a more obscure or ambiguous way of saying it” (Donald Guthrie, BORROW The pastoral epistles, p. 78).

(3) Women will be preserved from insignificance and find fulfillment by bearing children. This imposes an unusual meaning on the word “saved.”

(4) Women will be saved from the corruption of this sinful world by assuming their proper role at home. This is closer to the truth, but it doesn’t grant the normal meaning to the word “saved.”

(5) Women will be saved spiritually (with an emphasis on the future aspect of salvation) if their lives show the fruit of saving faith, namely, submission to God’s order as evidenced by taking their proper role as godly mothers. This is the best view, since the word “saved” in the Pastoral Epistles always refers to spiritual salvation. This doesn’t mean that a woman earns salvation by bearing children. Rather, it looks at the future aspect of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. But genuine saving faith always results in a life of good works and in the development of godly character. The hope of future salvation should motivate us to a life of good deeds now, in spite of the hardships.

Paul mentions child bearing to tie in the earlier reference to the fall. In spite of Eve’s sin and the curse (increased pain in childbirth), women who hope in God and His salvation will submit to their role in the home. An evidence of their salvation is their continuance in faith, love, sanctity (holiness), and self-restraint (the same word as “discreetly” in 1Ti 2:9, meaning control over one’s passions). Thus Paul comes full circle to say that the conduct of women in the church should be marked by godliness and submission.  (Conduct of Women in the Church)

Pastor Cole concludes this difficult section with these words...I’ve spent most of the message explaining a difficult text—difficult exegetically, but also difficult culturally, because it runs against the grain of our modern world. I want to conclude by applying these verses to three areas:

(1) Check your attitude toward Scripture: Defiant or compliant? Because of our rebellion against God, we all have a tendency to shrug off the parts of His Word that we don’t like. If you only submit to the parts of the Bible you like, then you’re just using the Bible to reinforce your sinful desires. Even Satan quoted the Bible with Jesus to support his temptation! The test of whether you are under the lordship of Jesus Christ is when the Bible confronts your preferences. Yes, we need to determine what the Bible means be-fore we apply it. But it’s easy to shrug off difficult truth by saying,
“I don’t agree with that interpretation,” when really we don’t want to submit to God. Be careful!

(2) Check your attitude toward the opposite sex: Competitive or cooperative? There should be no war between the sexes in the church. Men should esteem and affirm godly women for their ministries. Women should respect and submit to godly elders in their leadership. Elders are not to lord it over the flock, but to be examples of godliness. The times when elders need to use their authority are rare. If we all submit to God and serve in our God-given roles, there will be cooperation. And, as our text shows, Christian men and women should relate to one another in purity, not in sensuality.
(3) Check your attitude toward the home: A burden or a blessing? Children should never be viewed by Christian women as a hindrance to their fulfillment through a career. Children are one of God’s greatest blessings. The responsibility of shaping their character through godly example in the home is more important than any career, male or female, because the whole fabric of society depends on it. If we seek self-fulfillment, even if through a teaching or leadership ministry, we will come up empty. If we deny self and serve in the roles God’s Word ordains, He will bless us beyond measure.

Well, that’s the forecast, folks! If you don’t like it, remember, I don’t make up the weather; I just report it!  (Conduct of Women in the Church)

Ryrie on preserved through the bearing of children - This may mean (1) brought safely through childbirth, (2) saved through the birth of a Child (Jesus the Savior), or (3) that a woman's greatest achievement is found in her devotion to her divinely ordained role: to help her husband, to bear children, and to follow a faithful, chaste way of life. (Ryrie Study Bible)

A T Robertson on through the bearing of children- This translation makes it refer to the birth of the Saviour as glorifying womanhood. That is true, but it is not clear that Paul does not have mostly in mind that child-bearing, not public teaching, is the peculiar function of woman with a glory and dignity all its own. "She will be saved" (sōthēsetai) in this function, not by means of it.

Henry Morris on preserved through the bearing of children - In the original, there is a definite article here: "the childbearing." It is probable that a very specific birth is in view, not childbearing in general. If so, and in light of the context, it seems that Paul is referring to the great protevangelic promise of Genesis 3:15: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." It is in the very next verse (Genesis 3:16) that God told Eve henceforth, "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Because of being "in the transgression," Eve and her daughters would bring forth children, begotten of the husband's seed, in sorrow (a word implying labor and suffering), but there would be one particular birth one day, uniquely born of her seed, rather than of her husband's seed, and He (the virgin-born God/man) would finally inflict a mortal wound on the old Serpent. It was by this "childbearing" that "she shall be saved." In a secondary sense, every birth is a type of that special birth, in its reminder and promise that salvation is preceded by suffering, and that the joy of life follows travail and possible death (or at least willingness to die). As Jesus said: "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world" (John 16:21).

if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. This is a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE which means potential contingent action. The contingency is the believing women’s continuance in faith, love, sanctity, and self-restraint.

Morris on continue in faith -  The childbearing would bring salvation to women, but on condition that they continue in "faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (that is, soberness of mind and demeanor). This cannot, of course, contradict the doctrine of salvation by grace. However, such salvation is received through faith and its reality demonstrated by charity (Christian love), holiness and soberness in the true Christian woman.

Believer's Study Bible - With Gen. 3:16 and its link between Eve's sin and the pain of childbearing still in mind, Paul provides a note of comfort. Before the Fall, God issued the command for reproduction of future generations (Gen. 1:28), but the pain in childbearing developed as a result of sin, which brought with it suffering and the distortion of the Edenic Paradise. The godly behavior of a woman will be rewarded by her awesome contribution in joining with the Creator God in the process of producing the next generation. Through a willingness to bring life into the world and nurture that life physically and spiritually, a woman is obedient to the redemptive plan of God. (Believer's Study Bible)

1 Timothy 2:11-15
Dr Wayne Grudem

 From Systematic Theology - beginning on page 822 - see pdf for the footnotes in the following article

The single passage in Scripture that addresses this question most directly is 1 Timothy 2:11–15:

  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Here Paul is speaking about the church when it is assembled (see vv. 8–9). In such a setting, Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (v. 12). These are the functions that are carried out by the elders of the church, and especially by what we know as a pastor in contemporary church situations.59 It is specifically these functions unique to elders that Paul prohibits for women in the church.60

a. The Meaning of Verse 13.

Paul’s first reason is the order of creation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Paul does not use some local situation in Ephesus for a reason, such as saying, “For women aren’t as well educated there in Ephesus,” or “For you have some disruptive women teaching false doctrine there in Ephesus.” No, he points back to the original time of creation, before there was any sin in the world, and sees that there was a purpose of God indicated in the order of creation: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Paul simply assumes that his readers will understand that when God created Adam first and then gave commands to him alone (Gen. 2:7, 15–17) and then later created Eve (Gen. 2:22), God was giving a leadership role to Adam.

People in the ancient world, where the first-born son had a leadership role in the family, would have understood this. But we do not need to assume that Paul was endorsing the entire system of “primogeniture,” at least not in all its details. It is enough simply to say that people who were familiar with that system would have had no trouble understanding Paul’s reasoning: the first-born male in any family is assumed to be the leader in that family in his generation, and Adam was the first-born in his generation, so he was the leader.

When Paul bases his argument on the order of creation of Adam and Eve, it indicates that his command about women not teaching or having authority in the assembled congregation transcends cultures and societies. It applies to men and women as they were created by God at the beginning, and it is not due to any distortion brought on by sin or the fall. It applies, then, to all churches for all time, and it is a means by which the beauty of manhood and womanhood as God created them to be can be manifested in the life of the church.

b. The Meaning of Verse 14.

As his second reason why Paul does not “permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man,” he says, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim. 2:14). We should not understand this to mean that Paul was punishing women for something that Eve did. The New Testament authors do not try to perpetuate the punishments of the curse in Genesis 3 but work to bring redemption and alleviate the punishments that came as a result of the fall. The goal of the gospel is redemption, not punishment.

There are two main interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:14. The first interpretation says that verse 14 refers to a role reversal in the fall. The idea is that Eve took the initiative and decided to eat the forbidden fruit on her own, but in doing this she took a leadership role that belonged to Adam.

The second major interpretation, and the one that I think best fits the wording of the verse, is that Paul is saying something about the nature of men and women as God created them. This is by far the most common viewpoint in the history of interpretation of this passage. While some authors have wrongly understood this text to be teaching the intellectual inferiority of women, that misunderstanding is certainly not necessary to the passage, nor am I aware of any modern author who holds that view today.

Rather, this interpretation says that while God made men and women (in general) with equal intellectual abilities, there are still differences in preferences and inclinations, and those differences are consistent or “congruent” with God’s purposes in entrusting leadership in the church to men. Paul is saying, therefore, that women should not teach or have authority over men in the congregation of God’s people for two reasons: (1) God gave Adam a leadership role when he created him first and Eve second (v. 13), and (2) God gave men, in general, a disposition that is better suited to teaching and governing in the church, a disposition that inclines more to rational, logical analysis of doctrine and a desire to protect the doctrinal purity of the church, and God gave women, in general, a disposition that inclines more toward a relational, nurturing emphasis that places a higher value on unity and community in the church (v. 14). Both emphases are needed, of course, and both men and women have some measure of both tendencies. But Paul understands the kinder, gentler, more relational nature of women (in general) as something that made Eve less inclined to oppose the deceptive serpent and more inclined to accept his words as something helpful and true.

c. The Meaning of Verse 15.

Paul’s concluding sentence in this section is, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tim. 2:15). The general force of the sentence is clear, although people differ about the details. Paul has just finished saying that “the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” In this final comment his purpose is to assure readers that Eve’s sin was not the final word regarding women! Though Eve sinned, salvation is now possible through Christ.

The phrase “through childbearing” is probably best understood as an example of being obedient to God’s calling on one’s life. Women are not to teach or govern the church, but God has given them a special responsibility, the awesome responsibility of bearing and raising children. Paul understands that not all women will be able to have children (for the Old Testament and life experience both testify to that fact), and he also gives a long section on widows in 1 Timothy 5:3–16, so he knows there are many women in the church at Ephesus who do not have husbands. But Paul is speaking of “childbearing” as a representative example of how a woman should be obedient to God’s calling on her life and fulfill the role or roles God has called her to do, whether that includes bearing and raising of children, or showing “hospitality” (1 Tim. 5:10), or caring for the afflicted (5:10), or managing their households (5:14), or ministering through “supplications and prayers” (5:5), or training younger women (Titus 2:4–5), or any mixture of these or other callings. Paul takes “childbearing” as one obvious and representative example of a woman’s distinctive role and calling from God.

What does it mean then to say that “she will be saved through childbearing”? It surely does not mean that a woman is justified or forgiven of her sins because of childbearing or fulfilling other tasks to which God calls her, for Paul clearly teaches that salvation in this sense is a “gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one would boast” (Eph. 2:8–9) and it comes “through faith” (Eph. 2:8).

But Paul can use salvation and related terms in another sense, to refer to the Christian life from initial conversion until our death, a life in which we live in increasing obedience to God and see more and more good works as a consequence and as an evidence of the change that God has brought about in our lives. So Paul means that a woman will be “saved”—she will continue to work out the results of her salvation—“through childbearing,” that is, through obedience to God in the various tasks and roles that he calls her to rather than attempting to teach or govern the church, which is a role God has not called women to.

d. However, the Bible Encourages Other Kinds of Teaching and Speaking by Women.

(1) Acts 18:26: Explaining the Bible in informal settings.61

In discussing 1 Timothy 2:12, it is important to read it in the light of other passages that view some kinds of teaching by women in a positive way. For example, we read in Acts 18:26 concerning Apollos: “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). The word translated “explained” (Greek ektithēmi) is plural and it indicates both Aquila and Priscilla were involved in explaining the way of God more fully to Apollos.

This incident is viewed with approval in the book of Acts, for there is no indication that anything was wrong with this conduct as it fits the ongoing narrative of the spread of the gospel to many gentile cities. Therefore, this passage gives warrant for women and men to talk together about the meaning of biblical passages and to “teach” one another in such settings. A parallel example in modern church life would be a home Bible study where both men and women contribute to the discussion of the meaning and application of Scripture. In such discussions, everyone is able to “teach” everyone else in some sense, for such discussions of the meaning of the Word of God are not the authoritative teaching that would be done by a pastor or elder to an assembled congregation, as in 1 Timothy 2.

Another modern parallel to the private conversation between Priscilla and Aquila and Apollos would be the writing of books on the Bible and theology by women. When I read a Bible commentary written by a woman, for example, it is as if the author were talking privately to me, explaining her interpretation of the Bible, much as Priscilla talked to Apollos in Acts 18:26. Reading a book by a woman author is much like having a private conversation with a woman author. The woman author does not have teaching authority over an assembled congregation or a group of men.

(2) 1 Corinthians 11:4–5: Praying and prophesying in the assembled congregation.

Another example of an activity in the church that Scripture approves is praying aloud before the assembled congregation, because Paul says, “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as if her head were shaven” (1 Cor. 11:4–5). Paul implies that it would be normal and natural in the church at Corinth for women to pray and to prophesy aloud. If it were wrong for women to pray or prophesy in the church service, Paul would not have said they should have their heads covered when they do so!

This passage also implies that giving prophecies aloud in the assembled congregation is appropriate for women. As I explain more fully in chapter 53, giving a prophecy is simply reporting something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.62 Prophecy is always listed as a separate gift from teaching in the New Testament, and prophecy is always to be subject to the teaching and governing authority of the elders and is to be tested for its conformity to Scripture (see 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:20–21). In churches that believe this gift is still valid for today, giving prophecies is another appropriate activity for women.

(3) Titus 2:3–5: Women teaching women.

Paul encourages another kind of teaching activity by women when he says, “Older women … are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3–5). All kinds of Bible teaching ministries from women to other women are encouraged by this passage. Organizations such as Bible Study Fellowship have outstanding ministries in training women in the knowledge of the Word of God, and in the United States at least, some excellent women Bible teachers will speak to conferences of several thousand at one time. These are valuable ministries that should be encouraged. They are not the kind of teaching or having authority over men that Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2.

(4) John 4:28–30 and Matthew 28:5–10: Evangelism.

Evangelism of all kinds is another activity not restricted to men alone but open to men and women alike. For example, the woman at the well in Samaria went and told her village about Jesus:

  So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. (John 4:28–30)

In addition, the women at the tomb became the first eyewitnesses of the resurrection, and Jesus sent them to tell his disciples about the resurrection (Matt. 28:5–10). These passages suggest that it would be appropriate for women to do evangelism in any setting, whether privately or in large groups. In speaking to non-Christians, they are not having the kind of teaching or governing authority over the church that Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2 because the unbelievers who hear the gospel message are not a congregation of assembled believers.

The history of missions has many stories of courageous women who went by themselves to proclaim the gospel to unreached people. For example, Wycliffe Bible translator Joanne Shetler tells a beautiful story of her work with the Balango people in the Philippines, and her interaction with a man in the village (her “daddy”) who had adopted her into his family and who was reading pages of the New Testament for her as she produced it:

  I continued translating in Timothy with my daddy. And we came to a verse where Paul says to Timothy, “I don’t allow women to teach men.” My daddy didn’t bat an eyelash. But that afternoon, after we’d finished work, he said to me, “Now what is that we’re going to study on Sunday?” I thought he was just curious. I didn’t know what was on his mind since fathers don’t report to their children. So I told him. Sunday morning came, and before I could stand up to start, he stood up and said, “My daughter here knows more about this than I do, but we found in the Bible that women aren’t supposed to teach men. So I guess I have to be the one!” And that was the end of my career, and the beginning of their teaching.63

It was a beautiful picture of a key turning point in the transition from an informal group of new Christians to an established congregation with indigenous male leadership naturally taking charge.

Situations similar to this have probably occurred hundreds of times throughout the history of the church, and no doubt God gives much grace as new Christians seek to be faithful to his Word, even when it might be difficult to say exactly what point a transition should occur without being present in the actual situation. The important point is that the transition does occur, and male leadership is established in the church.

(5) Other kinds of speaking in the assembled church.

Churches should encourage women in several other kinds of speaking in church, such as giving a personal testimony of God’s work in a woman’s own life or in the lives of others, reading Scripture, singing a solo or singing in a group, acting as part of a dramatic presentation—whatever goes on in the assembled church other than what is explicitly prohibited by Scripture (Bible teaching and governing over the congregation of God’s people).

e. Objections related to 1 Timothy 2:12

Several objections have been brought against the view that 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibits women from teaching the assembled church or governing the church as an elder.64

(1) Objection: Paul says this only because women were teaching false doctrine in Ephesus. It has been argued that this passage applies only to the specific situation that Paul is addressing, probably one where women were teaching heretical doctrine within the church at Ephesus. But this objection is not persuasive, since there is no clear statement in 1 Timothy that says that women were actually teaching false doctrines (1 Tim. 5:13 talks about women who are gossiping, but does not mention false doctrine). In addition, the only false teachers named in Ephesus are men, not women (see 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17–18; also note that Paul tells the elders at Ephesus “from among your own selves will arise men [plural of Greek anēr, “man”] speaking twisted things,” Acts 20:30).

Moreover, Paul does not simply tell certain women who are teaching false doctrine to be silent, but he says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.” And finally, the reason Paul gives for this prohibition is not the one proposed in this objection, but a far different one: the situation of Adam and Eve before the fall, and before there was any sin in the world (see v. 13), and the way in which a reversal in male and female roles occurred at the time of the fall (see v. 14). These reasons are not limited to one situation in the church at Ephesus, but have application to manhood and womanhood generally.

(2) Objection: Paul says this because the women in Ephesus weren’t well educated. Another objection is to say that Paul gave this prohibition because women were not well educated in the first century and therefore were not qualified for teaching or governing roles in the church. But Paul does not give lack of education as a reason for saying that women cannot “teach or … exercise authority over a man” but rather points back to creation (vv. 13–14). It is precarious to base an argument on a reason Paul did not give instead of the reason he did give.

In addition, this objection misunderstands the actual facts of the ancient church and the ancient world. Formal training in Scripture was not required for church leadership in the New Testament church because several of the apostles did not have formal biblical training (see Acts 4:13). On the other hand, the skills of basic literacy and therefore the ability to read and study Scripture were available to men and women alike (note Acts 18:26; Rom. 16:1; 1 Tim. 2:11; Titus 2:3–4). There were many well-educated women in the ancient world and particularly in a cultural center such as Ephesus.65

In Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective,66 Clinton Arnold and Robert Saucy report further evidence of the significant educational achievements of women in ancient Ephesus:

  In a very important recent study, Paul Trebilco has accumulated and presented the inscriptional evidence attesting to the role of women in civic positions in western Asia Minor.…67 It is frequently assumed in some of the literature that women in Ephesus (and in Asia Minor and the entire Roman world, for that matter) lacked education and the opportunity for an education. This has been drastically overstated.…

  There is now inscriptional evidence that women served in some of the cities in a position that would be a close functional equivalent of our “superintendent of schools,” that is, in the capacity of a gymnasiarch (gymnasiarchos). The “gymnasium” was the center for education in a Greek city.… The “gymnasiarch” had oversight of the intellectual training of the citizens and for the general management of the facility. Inscriptions dating from the first to the third centuries attest to fifty women who served as gymnasiarchs in twenty-three cities of Asia Minor and the coastal islands. This suggests that women not only had access to education, but also that in many places they were leading the educational system.68

Finally, Paul was writing to Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3), which was the home church of Priscilla and Aquila (see Acts 18:18–19, 21). It was in this very church at Ephesus that Priscilla knew Scripture well enough to help instruct Apollos in AD 51 (Acts 18:26). Then she had probably learned from Paul himself for another three years while he stayed at Ephesus teaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27; cf. v. 31; also 1 Cor. 16:19). In fact, Paul himself had lived in Priscilla and Aquila’s home during his time at Ephesus (Acts 18:2–3)! No doubt many other women in Ephesus had followed her example and also had learned from Paul. Although they later went to Rome, we find Aquila and Priscilla back in Ephesus at the end of Paul’s life (2 Tim. 4:19), about AD 67. Therefore, it is likely that they were in Ephesus in AD 65, about the time Paul wrote 1 Timothy (about fourteen years after Priscilla had helped instruct Apollos). Yet Paul does not allow even well-educated Priscilla or any other well-educated women at Ephesus to teach men in the public assembly of the church. The reason was not lack of education, but the order of creation which God established between men and women.

(3) Objection: This verse does not prohibit women from having authority but from “domineering” or misusing authority. Those who make this objection claim that Paul did not intend to say that a woman should not “exercise authority over a man” (understanding “exercise authority” as a valued, positive function in the church), but rather his meaning was that a woman should not “domineer” or “misuse authority” over a man (understanding the Greek verb authenteō to refer to a harmful, destructive abuse of authority). (A related objection claims other meanings for the verb authenteō, such as, “I do not permit a woman to murder a man,” or “instigate violence against a man.”)

Elsewhere I have analyzed in some detail such claims for a negative meaning for authenteō,69 with the conclusion that they simply lack any support from valid evidence from ancient Greek literature. The substantial evidence that we have regarding the meaning of this word is that it has a positive meaning that is appropriately rendered in English by “exercise authority” to “have authority.”

In addition, this objection does not make sense in the context of 1 Timothy 2. If this verb meant that Paul was prohibiting teaching “in a domineering way,” then why did he not prohibit men as well as women from doing this?

(4) Objection: This verse only says that a woman should not “assume authority” (NIV 2011) over a man. In 1 Timothy 2:12 the 2011 edition of the NIV Bible adopted a novel translation that gave the egalitarian side of this issue everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man.” If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women’s roles in the church will be over, because women pastors and elders can just say, “I’m not assuming authority on my own initiative; it was given to me by the other pastors and elders.” Therefore, any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to “assume authority.”70

The problem with this translation is the lack of valid evidence from the ancient world that authenteō could ever take a negative or pejorative meaning with the sense of “wrongly take authority upon oneself,” which is the sense that many readers will give it. The same or similar objections that I raised in the previous section to the meaning “domineer,” or other pejorative meanings, also apply here. This meaning is contrary to the substantial evidence in the book by Köstenberger and Schreiner (Women in the Church, 3rd ed.),71 and it fails to explain why Paul would only prohibit women from wrongly assuming authority rather than prohibiting both men and women from doing this.

(5) Objection: This verse only prohibits a wife from having authority over her husband in the church. Because the Greek word that is translated as “woman” (Greek gunē) can also mean “wife,” depending on the context, some have argued that 1 Timothy 2:12 actually means “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over her husband.” However, this objection is not convincing, because when we look at passages where gunē means “wife,” there are always decisive clues that require that meaning in those other contexts, and in every case it is clear that those contexts are discussing marriage. Here are some examples:

    Romans 7:2: “A married (hupandros) woman”
    1 Corinthians 7:2: “Each man should have his own (heautou) wife and each woman her own (idion) husband”
    1 Corinthians 7:12: “If any brother has (echei) a wife” (and the entire context of 1 Cor. 7 is a discussion about marriage)
    1 Corinthians 7:39: “A wife is bound to her (autēs) husband as long as he lives”
    Ephesians 5:22: “Wives submit to your own (idiois) husbands”

By contrast, 1 Timothy 2:11–15 has no such indicators in the words or the context to show that Paul is speaking about marriage. Paul does not say, “to teach or have authority over her own husband,” which he could have done. In addition, it is unlikely that Paul would give strict instructions about family life in the middle of the context devoted to a discussion of officers for the entire church (chapters 1–3). And it is highly unlikely that Paul would only require married men to refrain from “anger or quarreling” (1 Tim. 2:8) or only require married women to dress “in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (v. 9), which means that in this very context the word gunē clearly means “woman,” not “wife.”

(6) Objection: This is a temporary command because Paul uses a present tense verb. People who support this objection claim that we should understand 1 Timothy 2:12 to mean, “I am not now permitting a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (this view assumes it was a temporary command for this situation only).

But this argument simply misunderstands how Paul often uses present tense verbs to give instructions that apply permanently to all Christians. There are numerous examples, such as Romans 12:1, “I appeal (parakalō, present indicative) to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,” or 1 Timothy 2:1, “I urge (parakalō, present indicative) that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” (This does not mean, “I temporarily urge that you pray.”) These and many similar verses give instructions that apply to all Christians just as much today as they did when Paul wrote them. The process that is advocated in this objection would lead to the nullification of many New Testament instructions for Christians.

(7) Objection: This verse only prohibits one activity (“authoritative teaching,” as an elder), not two activities (teaching or having authority). Therefore a woman can preach sermons to a church as long as she is not an elder. Craig Blomberg has argued that “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12) means that “the only thing Paul is prohibiting women from doing in that verse is occupying the office of overseer or elder.”72 He argues this because teaching and having authority over the church are the two responsibilities unique to the office of elder, and because

  Philip Payne has demonstrated that the conjunction oude (“nor”) that connects the two key verbs in verse 12 regularly joins together expressions that in some sense are mutually defining. In formal terminology this is called a “hendiadys” (from Greek words that mean “one through two”). In other words, Paul is not forbidding two separate actions here; rather the two verbs together define one specific function or role.73

Blomberg attempts to demonstrate that Paul “regularly” used two verbs joined by the conjunction oude to describe one function by listing ten other examples in 1 Timothy 2. But when we actually look up these ten examples, not one of them uses this conjunction (Gk. oude)!74 If Paul had written, “I do not permit a woman to teach and to exercise authority over a man,” it would provide the parallel that Blomberg is searching for. But that is exactly what Paul did not write. Blomberg’s explanation is not faithful to the meaning of the words in the text.

(8) Objection: A woman can teach and have authority over men if she does so under the authority of the pastor or if the elders give her permission. This objection may sound appealing at first because it recognizes the leadership role of pastor and male elders. But when we consider the objection more carefully, it is establishing a dangerous precedent. In essence, it is saying that the (male) pastor and (male) elders have the ability to give a woman permission to disobey a direct command of Scripture.

The question here is, what does the Bible say? It does not merely say, “Preserve some kind of male authority in the congregation.” It does not say, “A woman may not teach men unless she is under the authority of the elders.” Rather, it says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12).

Can a pastor or the elders of a church give a woman permission to disobey this statement of Scripture? Certainly not! Can a woman do what the Bible says not to do and excuse it by saying “I’m under the authority of the elders”? Would we say that the elders of a church could tell people “under their authority” that they have permission to disobey other passages of Scripture? Such a process would enable pastors to nullify many of the teachings of the New Testament.

(9) Objection: Paul was moving in a “trajectory” toward full equality of roles for women. This objection claims that if we study the ancient cultural setting in which the Bible was written, we will find that the apostle Paul had a much higher view of the value of women than the culture in which he lived. Paul’s writings and teachings lead to an improvement in the status of women compared to their status in the non-Christian culture. Today we can follow the trajectory that moves from (a) the low status of women in ancient culture to (b) the improved status of women in Paul’s writings, and when we follow the direction in which Paul was moving, we can today promote (c) the full equality of women and men, with all church offices open to women as well as men. This was the goal that Paul was moving toward, but he didn’t reach that goal during his lifetime. Those who make this objection sometimes note a similar argument about slavery: we can trace a trajectory moving from (a) the low status of slaves in the ancient world to (b) an improvement in the status of slaves in the writings of Paul and then to (c) advocating the complete abolition of slavery today.

The problem with this objection is that it effectively nullifies the teachings of the New Testament as a moral standard for Christians to follow today. In place of the writings of the New Testament, it means that Christians would be subject to the multiple conflicting estimates of numerous scholarly “experts” telling us their best guesses about exactly where a trajectory would lead. This means that the teachings of the New Testament are no longer our final authority. Our authority would now become our ideas of the direction the New Testament was heading but never quite reached. This view abandons the crucial Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura, or “the Bible alone,” as our ultimate authority for doctrine and life.

Furthermore, the Christian leaders who opposed slavery in Britain and the United States in the 1800s did not use this kind of trajectory argument but assumed the abiding moral authority of what is taught in the Bible itself, and they argued against slavery on that basis. And they won the argument.75
(10) Most of these alternative views of 1 Timothy 2:12 have arisen since 1966. As far as I can determine, most of the previous eight objections to saying that 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibits women from teaching or having authority over men today have arisen, in the published academic literature, since 1966.76 This does not automatically mean that these objections are incorrect, but it does cast some doubt on them. If any of these interpretations are correct, why did no one think of them for so many centuries? And why did they arise soon after secular feminism gained widespread influence in society in the 1960s?

For footnotes click  Systematic Theology - beginning on page 822 pdf