1 Timothy 2 Commentary

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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. 

  • 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 


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)

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) 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 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). (See 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. (See Be Faithful (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)

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)

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.

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 36 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+)

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!

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

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. 

  • 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 

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! 

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+)

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. (See 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.

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) 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)

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)

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, 

  • 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 

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) in the sight of God our Savior (soter) - This in context refers to the life of godliness and dignity that takes place in a tranquil, quiet environment that is such because of persistent prayers for the government leadership. This lifestyle among those who call themselves Christ followers is attractive to those who need salvation from God our Savior. God in context would refer to God the Father Who planned salvation to be made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus our Savior. 

Soter was used of God as the source of salvation - the Deliverer, the Preserver, the Protector, the Healer, the One Who rescues man from danger or peril and unto a state of prosperity and happiness. Soter was used of Jesus Christ as the Agent sent by God to bring deliverance to sinful mankind. The Spirit brings about the deliverance in the new birth. Clearly, the Trinity is wholly involved in the salvation of sinners. 

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. That which can be accepted or "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

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. 

  • 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 

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.

Who desires (thelo) all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge (epignosis) of the truth (aletheia) - 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 to pray for all men (1Ti 2:1) 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 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 is 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. 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). But those who are drawn still have to chose to come. 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). To come to the knowledge of the truth is to hear 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 knowledge of the truth about Who Jesus is and what He has accomplished on the Cross to secure our salvation. 

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

If God desires all men to be saved 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. 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. As Walter Lock says “God’s will to save is as wide as His will to create.”

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)

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?

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."

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!" 

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+).

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 

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.

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.


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) - One God is the Jewish "Shema" 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, 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). 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! His glorified Humanity is now the pattern for our glorified state as described in 1Jn 3:2+ (cf Php 3:20-21+). 

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 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, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 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)

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:

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)


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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.

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).

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, 

  • 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 

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,

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. The pronoun Himself is significant and indicates Jesus held nothing back and He did this for us! Ransom (antilutron) speaks of the price Jesus price (His precious blood - 1Pe 1:18-19+) to secure our redemption. 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! 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). 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). 

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+).

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

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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).

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.

  • For this I was appointed: 1Ti 1:11-12 
  • For this 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 

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 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.

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 

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.


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. 

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! 

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.” 

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+

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+).

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

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 

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;


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 discreeting 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.

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)

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 largely 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 their 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 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 -- very distracting (but now one would address it because of her husband's esteemed place in the body!)

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.

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

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 

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

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. 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. 

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 -  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.

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.

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 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, but the woman being deceived, 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). 

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.

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, The Pastoral Epistles Eerdmans], 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)

Bearing of children (5042) means child bearing