Matthew Poole's Commentary
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;1 Timothy 2:1-3 Paul exhorteth to pray and give thanks for all men,
for kings and magistrates especially.
1 Timothy 2:4-6 God willeth the savation of all men.
1 Timothy 2:7 Paul’s commission to teach the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2:8-10 He directeth how women should be attired,
1 Timothy 2:11-14 permiteth them not to teach,
1 Timothy 2:15 promiseth that they shall be saved by child-bearing
on certain conditions.
Timothy (as was said before) was left at Ephesus to manage the affairs of the church there in the absence of Paul, who in this Epistle directs him as to this management. First he exhorts him to see that prayers should be made for all men.
Supplications, dehseiv, for supply of wants.
Prayers, proseucav, signifieth much the same; some will have it to signify petitions for the conservation or increase of what good things we have.
Intercessions, enteuzeiv, prayers for others, whether for the averting of evils from them, or the collation of good things upon them.
And giving of thanks; and blessings of God for good things bestowed upon ourselves or others. These Paul wills should be made uper pantwn, which may be of all men, or for all men, but the next verse plainly shows that it is here rightly rendered
for all men, for there were at this time no kings in the church. Paul here establisheth prayers as a piece of the public ministry in the church of God, and a primary piece; therefore he saith, he exhorts that first of all; not in respect of time so much, as, principally, intimating it a great piece of the public ministry, which he would by no means have neglected. And he would have these prayers put up for all orders and sorts of men, such only excepted of whom St. John speaks, 1Jo 5:16, who had sinned that sin, for which he would not say Christians should pray.
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.For kings, and for all that are in authority: the kings of the earth at that time were all heathens, and enemies to the Christian religion, so (generally) were those who were in a subordinate authority to them, yet the apostle commands that prayers should be made in the Christian congregations for them. What the matter of their petitions was to be is not expressed, but doubtless not to be limited by the next words, for that were not to have prayed for them but for themselves. Prayers for magistrates ought to be directed by their circumstances. If magistrates were idolaters and persecutors, they were to pray for their conversion, and the change of their hearts. However, they were to pray for their life and health so far forth as might be for God’s glory, and for God’s guidance of them in the administration of their government, and their success in their lawful counsels and undertakings, &c. The latter words,
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, contain the reason why prayers should be made for governors, and the good effect of them. For it is for this end that the supreme Lord hath ordained the office and dignity of kings and governors, that, being armed with authority and power, they may perserve public order and peace, by punishing evil-doers, and protecting and encouraging those that do well. Thus, under the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to pray for the peace of the nation or city whither they should be carried captives, for in their peace they should have peace, Jeremiah 29:7.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;To pray for all, as well our enemies as our friends, especially for princes, and such as are in places of magistracy and authority, is
good, being according to the will and commandment of God, and acceptable to God, as all acts of obedience to his will are. The word Saviour may either be understood with reference to the Divine Being, God being our Preserver, who maketh his sun to shine and his rain to fall upon the just and unjust, Matthew 5:45, which our Saviour brings as an argument to enforce his precept of love to our enemies; or with a special reference to Christ, to whom the title of Saviour, with reference to eternal salvation, more strictly belongs, who also by his death, when we were enemies reconciled us to God: so that such a charitable office must be acceptable to God, because in doing it we both show ourselves the children of our heavenly Father, and also the followers of Christ.
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.The apostle produces a clear, convincing reason, that the duty of charity in praying for all men is pleasing to God, from his love extended to all, in his willing their salvation, and their knowledge and belief of the gospel, which is the only way of salvation. From hence our Saviour’s commission and command to the apostles was universal: Go and teach all nations, Matthew 28:19; Preach the gospel to every creature, that is, to every man, Mark 16:15; he excludes no people, no person. And accordingly the apostles discharged their office to their utmost capacity, Colossians 1:24. But a question arises, how it can be said that God would
have all men saved, when that the most of men perish? For the resolving this difficulty, we must observe, that in the style of Scripture the will of God sometimes signifies his eternal counsel and decree; that things should be done either by his immediate efficiency, or by the intervention of means: or, secondly, his commands and invitations to men to do such things as are pleasing to him. The will of God in the first sense always infallibly obtains its effect, Psalm 115:3; thus he declares: My counsel shall stand, I will do all my pleasure, Isaiah 46:10; for otherwise there must be a change of God’s will and counsel, or a defect of power, both which assertions are impious blasphemy. But those things which he commands and are pleasing to him, are often not performed without any reflection upon him, either as mutable or impotent. Thus he declares, that he wills things that are pleasing to him; as, I will not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn and live, Ezekiel 33:11; and sometimes that he will not those things that are displeasing to him, as contrary to holiness, though he did not decree the hindering of them: thus he complains in Isaiah 55:12: Ye did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. This distinction of the Divine will being clearly set down in Scripture, answers the objection; for when it is said in the text, that God
will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and in the same sense by St. Peter, that God will have none perish, but come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9; we must understand it, not with respect to his decretive will, but his complacential will, that is, the repentance and life of a sinner is very pleasing to his holiness and mercy. And this love of God to men has been declared in opening the way of salvation to them by the Mediator, and by all the instructions, invitations, commands, and promises of the gospel, assuring them that whoever comes to Christ upon the terms of the gospel shall in no wise be cast off; that no repenting believer shall be excluded from saving mercy.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;The apostle proves the universal love of God to men by two reasons, the unity of God, and the unity of the Mediator: though there are divers societies and vast numbers of men, yet there is but one God, the Creator and Preserver of all. If there were many gods in nature, it were conceivable that the God of Christians were not the God of other men, and consequently that his good will were confined to his own portion, leaving the rest to their several deities; but since there is but one true God of the world, who has revealed himself in the gospel, it necessarily follows that he is the God of all men in the relation of Creator and Preserver. And from hence he concludes: God will have all men to be saved. He argues in the same manner that salvation by faith in Christ belongs to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, Romans 3:29,30. The apostle adds, for the clearest assurance of his good will of God to save men, that there is
one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. When the sin of man had provoked Divine justice, and the guilt could not be expiated without satisfaction, God appointed his Son incarnate to mediate between his offended Majesty and his rebellious subjects. And it is observable, the parallel between the unity of God and the unity of the Mediator; as there is one God of all nations, so there is one Mediator of all. The strength of the apostle’s argument from the unity of the Mediator is this: If there were many mediators, according to the numbers of nations in the world, there might be a suspicion whether they were so worthy and so prevalent as to obtain the grace of God, every one for those in whose behalf they did mediate. But since there is but one, and that he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, it is evident that all men have the same Mediator, and that every one may be assured that God is willing he should be saved, and, for that blessed end, should by faith and repentance accept the covenant of grace. The apostle for the stronger confirmation specifies the Mediator,
the man Christ Jesus, to encourage the hopes of all men, from the communion they have with him in nature, that they may partake of his salvation, and that this great Mediator, having come from heaven and assumed the infirmity of our nature, Hebrews 4:15, will be inclined compassionately to assist them, and raise them to his heavenly kingdom.
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.’ Antilutron, the word here translated ransom, is very emphatical; it signifies the exchanging of condition with another, the laying down of one’s life to save another’s. This our Saviour has done for us. The Scripture discovers to us, that by nature we are the children of wrath, and guilty of many rebellious sins, and devoted to eternal death: being in this deplorable state, the Son of God, moved by his Divine love, undertook our restoring to the favour of God; and voluntarily endured the punishment due to our sins, and gave his most precious blood and life the price of our redemption, Matthew 20:28. If it be objected: How is it consistent with Christ giving
himself a ransom for all, that so many perish in their sins? The answer is clear: We must distinguish between the sufficiency of his ransom and the efficacy of it; he paid a ransom worthy to obtain the salvation of all men, and has done whatever was requisite to reconcile God, and make men capable of salvation; but only those who by a lively faith depend upon him, and obey him, are actual partakers of salvation: that is, no person but may be saved in believing; and if men perish, it is not from a defect of righteousness in the Mediator, but from the love of their lusts, and their obstinate rejecting their own mercies. And it is unjust that the glory of his Divine compassion and love should be obscured or lessened for their ungrateful neglect of it.
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.Whereunto I am ordained a preacher; for the publishing and making known of which testimony of the Divine goodness and truth I am set, or appointed, 2 Timothy 1:11, eteyhn, a preacher, or a public officer to proclaim and make it known.
And an apostle; and am immediately called by Christ, and sent out upon that employment.
I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; I call Christ to witness that I speak nothing but what I know to be true. It is a phrase which hath, if not the form, yet the force of an oath; and was necessary in this case, for it was not easy to persuade the Jews that God had sent any to reveal the way of salvation to the Gentiles.
A teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity; and my special province was to teach the Gentiles, Acts 9:15 26:17 Galatians 2:7-9; and to instruct them in the doctrine of faith and truth: or, I was set faithfully and truly to instruct the Gentiles.
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.I will therefore that men pray every where; this is one precept that I give thee in charge as to the management of the affairs of the church, that wherever men meet together to worship God, whether in houses built for that purpose, or in more common houses, or any other place, (for the time is now come when there is no special command for one place more than another, no special promise made to men’s prayers in one place more than another, as there was to and concerning the temple of old, John 4:21), they should pray, either ministering to others in the duty of prayer, or joining with him who doth so minister.
Lifting up holy hands; but let them take heed how they pray, for God heareth not sinners, John 9:31; let them therefore lift up holy hands, not regarding iniquity in their hearts.
Without wrath; and let them take heed of carrying malice, or inveterate anger, in their hearts when they go to God in prayer, for they must pray, Father: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and, Matthew 6:15: If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses. And doubting; and let them also take heed of doubting in prayer of the goodness, truth, or power of God to fulfil his wishes; but, Jam 1:6,7, let them ask in faith, nothing wavering. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
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;The apostle’s next precept to be urged by Timothy, is concerning the habits of women, especially when they come to worship God in the public assemblies; for to such assemblies the precepts in this chapter, both before and after this, chiefly relate. Concerning these he commands, that they should
adorn themselves in modest apparel, observe a decency, with respect to the modesty of their sex, the purity of religion, the quality of their condition, and their age. Religion has no other interest in our habits, but to regulate them according to a modest comeliness; for they are indifferent in their nature, and neither add nor detract from the acceptance of our religious services.
Shamefacedness and sobriety, or modesty; a moderation of mind showed both in the habit of the body, and the manners and behaviour, both with these inward habits, and in an outward habit that may speak souls possessed of these inward habits.
Not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; not with hair platted or curled, not adorned with ornaments of gold, or pearls, or costly array. The apostle condemneth not these ornaments where they are suited to the quality of women, and ask not too much time to put on, and in order; but where they are too excessive with respect to the purse of those that wear them, or take up more time to be spent in putting them on than is fit to be so spent, especially on a sabbath day, or where they are put on out of pride, or to make a vain show, or are of that nature and fashion as they speak an unchaste or an immodest heart, or may cause scandal to others. The apostle Peter, 1 Peter 3:3, hath much the same precept, where he is not speaking of women’s habits, with such special reference to public assemblies, but to their ordinary conversation; but it ought to be more specially avoided when people come to worship God. They should not so habit themselves when they go to pray, as if they were going to a dancing school, as Chrysostom in his time complained of some that did.
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.They ought to look at the ornament of good works; for those are the ornaments which best become women professing godliness, whose hearts should despise the ornament of the figure of excrementitious hair, or a little yellow earth, or a stone, or the work of a pitiful silkworm.
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.That is, in the public assemblies for worship, it is the woman’s part silently to learn, showing thereby a subjection to the man, who is the head of the woman.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.But I suffer not a woman to teach; not to teach in the public congregation, except she be a prophetess, endued with extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, as Mary, and Anna, and Huldah, and Deborah, and some women in the primitive church, concerning whom we read, 1 Corinthians 11:5, that they prophesied.
Nor to usurp authority over the man: ordinary teaching of the woman was a usurpation of authority over the man, who is the head, which the apostle also forbade in 1 Corinthians 11:3, and here repeateth. It is probable that the speaking of some women in the church who had extraordinary revelations, imboldened others also to aim at the like, which the apostle here directs his speech against. Nevertheless women may, and it is their duty to instruct their children and families at home, especially in the absence of their husbands.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.The man had the priority of the woman in his creation, he was not made for her, but she was made for a help-mate mate for him; therefore she, being made for him, ought to usurp no authority over him.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.Besides, Adam was not first deceived, nor indeed at all deceived immediately by the serpent, but only enticed, and deceived by the woman, who was the tempter’s agent; so as that she was both first in the transgression in order of time, and also principal in it, contributing to the seduction or transgression of the man; which ought to be a consideration to keep the woman humble, in a low opinion of herself, and that lower order wherein God hath fixed her.
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.Though the woman was so unhappy as to be deceived by the serpent, and to be the first in taking the forbidden fruit, and an instrument to entice her husband to do the like, which may give all of that sex a cause of humiliation, and show them the reasonableness of God’s order in putting them in subjection to man, and prohibiting them to break God’s order in usurping authority over the man; yet through the gracious interposition of the Mediator, (afterward born of a woman), she hath no reason to despair, either of a temporal salvation, from the peril and danger of child-birth, or, much less, of an eternal salvation, for
she shall be saved; she stands upon equal ground with the man as to eternal salvation, who cannot be saved without faith and holiness, and a discharge of the duties incumbent upon him, and patient enduring the crosses and trials God exerciseth him with; and the woman also shall be saved, by faithful performance of her duty, and patiently enduring her crosses and trials, in the pains and peril of
child-bearing; notwithstanding they are the sensible marks of God’s displeasure for sin, yet the sufferings of Christ has taken away the said bitterness.
If they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety; if she also liveth in the exercise of faith in Christ, and love to God, and her husband, and all saints, and in all exercises of holiness with sobriety. Some refer the pronoun they to the children, because the apostle had been before speaking of the woman in the singular number; but there is nothing more ordinary than that change of the number, especially where collective words are used, that signify a whole species or sex; and it is unreasonable to think the apostle should suspend the salvation of the mother upon the faith and holiness of the child, and to interpret it of the mother’s endeavours towards it, seemeth hardly a sufficient interpretation of the term continue.