STUDIES FROM THE PASTORAL EPISTLES

STUDIES FROM THE PASTORAL EPISTLES

By John W. Gregson

Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles

There are several reasons for a study of I and II Timothy and Titus. In his New Testament Commentary, William Hendriksen says there are at least seven good reasons. Among them are (1) they shed light on the important problem of church administration, (2) they stress sound doctrine, (3) they demand consecrated living, (4) they answer the question."Are creeds of any value?", (5) they tell us about the closing activities of the life of the great Apostle Paul, (6) they are a valuable source for the understanding of the history of the church in the third quarter of the first century A.D., and (7) in these epistles as well as in the others God speaks to us (p. 3).

It is not until the eighteenth century (1703) that these epistles were referred to as the "Pastoral Epistles." When they are referred to as the pastoral epistles, we mean that these epistles (letters) were written to individuals who were recognized as leaders in their respective churches where they ministered. The Muratorian canon regarded the pastoral epistles for "the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline." The Apostle Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus with the instructions to withstand false teaching, and Titus was to remain at Crete to see that elders were chosen and installed in every city. They had been sent out by Paul as special envoys or deputies (fellow workers) with specific tasks for the enhancement of those churches.

Of course, there is some question as to the authorship of these epistles. If Paul wrote Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians and Philemon (and I believe he did), why is there so much difference in the subject matter and the words used in these church letters and the pastoral epistles? Truly the vocabulary of the three pastoral epistles are similar, but what about the difference in the vocabulary of the church epistles and the pastoral epistles?

Logically, one would expect the words and content of the pastoral epistles to differ from the church epistles because of the intimate personal aspect of the pastorals rather than writing to a group of individuals. Furthermore, the writer would take into consideration the knowledge of various doctrines possessed by Timothy and Titus. It would not be necessary to stress, for example the doctrine of justification by faith, if Paul was reasonably sure that these individuals already believed and understood this great doctrine. As Hendriksen says, "In each epistle Paul uses the (Spirit-inspired) words which he needs order to express his (Spirit-inspired) thoughts regarding the specific subject with which he deals" (p. 8).

Did the writer have a secretary or an amanuensis; if so, who was he? Was he Luke or some other writer? Would not the fact that Paul had a secretary make any difference in style? Furthermore, would not the writer's age and experiences, and the purpose for which he wrote make for a difference in vocabulary? Moreover, the rapid advance and development of Christianity as a new entity, growing, changing, and vigorous necessitate new phraseology?

If the Apostle Paul wrote the pastoral epistles, when did he write them? He must have written them after he had been released from prison the first time, but before his final imprisonment. They appear to have been written whenever Paul was moving freely, not in prison. It is generally believed that Paul was released from prison and even traveled to Spain, however this fact cannot be substantiated.

Both Timothy and Titus were Paul's spiritual sons. Timothy had had a strong religious heritage and was trained in the biblical teachings. He was faithful and a constant co-worker of the apostle. He apparently was somewhat timid and needed encouragement along the way. Timothy was probably converted to Christianity on Paul's first missionary journey when he and Barnabas went to Lystra and Derbe. Without a doubt Timothy, along with his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois saw Paul suffer at those towns and possibly were converted as a result of Paul's sufferings (Acts 14:19, 20; II Timothy 3:10, 11). In Acts 16:1 Paul desired Timothy to accompany him and Silas on their second missionary journey. Because Timothy's father was a Greek, Paul encouraged Timothy to be circumcised. He voluntarily submitted to the rite on providential grounds and in order to be a witness to the Jews.

In Acts 17:14 Timothy is sent from Berea to Thessalonica (I Thessalonians 3:6). In Acts 18:5 Timothy and Silas are mentioned as having came from Macedonia, and they joined Paul at Corinth (I Thessalonians 3:6). In Acts 19:22 Timothy and Erastus were sent into Macedonia and thence to Corinth. Timothy accompanied Paul to Galatia, the Aegean, Troas, Samothrace and Philippi. Timothy's relationship with the Apostle Paul must have extended from about A.D. 51 to 67 or 68.

We do not know as much about Titus as we do Timothy. He was a Greek, converted from heathenism. Paul never asked him to undergo the rite of circumcision. Titus is living proof of Gentile conversion; he was a man of enthusiasm, integrity, and discretion. Paul mentions Titus several times in II Corinthians and twice in Galatians. He was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch; he did go with them to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1 - 3). He arrived at Philippi and was immediately directed to return to Corinth in order to continue the business of the collection. He bore Paul's letter to all the churches in the whole province of Achaia. Titus was sent from Ephesus to Corinth (II Corinthians 12:18). At Corinth he took an active and zealous part at the outset of the good work (II Corinthians 8:6). He came to Macedonia with good news from Achaia (II Corinthians 8:16, 17). In later years Titus was in Dalmatia (II Timothy 1:10).

When did Paul write the pastoral epistles and in what order did he write them? Conybeare and Howson believe that he wrote I Timothy from Macedonia in the summer of A.D. 67 and Titus from Ephesus in the autumn of A.D. 67. He wrote II Timothy from the Roman prison in the spring of 68. He was executed in May or June of A.D. 68 and Nero, his executioner, died in the middle of June A.D. 68 (p. 834).

I TIMOTHY

Warnings Against Heresy

I Timothy 1:1 - 11

It is the view of the most conservative of theologians the Apostle Paul wrote I Timothy from Macedonia in the summer of A.D. 67. In a few short months Paul would be executed just before Nero's death which occurred on 8 June A.D. 68. Since Acts 28 ends rather abruptly, it is supposed that Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment and permitted to minister for some three or four years, maybe even journeying to Spain. Then after the fire in Rome which was blamed on the Christians, Nero had him along with other professing Christians martyred. The Pauline authorship of I Timothy can hardly he denied. Not only does it purport to be Paul's writing, but the internal evidence is hardly deniable.

The purpose of the epistle seems to be that Paul wished to tell Timothy, who had the pastoral care of the church at Ephesus, how to handle the problems of church administration. He, furthermore, continued to attack the Gnostic heresy with its speculative ethics and its denial of the essential deity of the Incarnate Son of God and the Oriental Jew who had profaned the law of God by adding Rabbinical teachings.

1. Paul's Salutation, l, 2

As was the custom, Paul began his letter with a salutation designating himself as "an apostle of Jesus Christ." Although Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles, he did receive a special revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ and a special designation as "apostle to the Gentiles" (Romans 11:13; I Corinthians 9:1). The word "apostle" is a combination of apo and stello, meaning "to send away from."

The epistle is addressed to "Timotheos." Paul calls Timothy "my own son (teknon) or child in the faith. Timothy was probably converted under Paul's preaching in Lystra. Bible readers are first introduced to Timothy in Acts 16:1 when Paul desired Timothy to accompany him and Silas on their second missionary journey. Timothy, however, must have been converted to Christianity while Paul and Barnabas were on their first missionary journey when they visited Lystra, Timothy's home town, and Derbe.

The salutation formula in the pastorals differs somewhat from those of the earlier epistles. He writes, "Grace (charis), mercy (eleos), and peace (eirene), from God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord." The difference may be accounted for in the fact that now Paul is the "aged" apostle; his health is now greatly debilitated by more than 30 years of suffering.

2. Paul's Admonition and Charge, 3, 4

The apostle had earlier left Timothy in Ephesus to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Some of the members of the church at Ephesus were preaching and teaching a (heterodidaskalein); that is, teaching of another kind. Whereas the doctrine which Paul taught was straight doctrine (orthodox), as against the Ephesians who were hearing "crooked doctrine" or "doctrine of another kind," from false teachers. Rather than orthodox teachers, they were heterodox. Evidently Paul had visited Ephesus after his trip to Philippi when he returned from Spain. Here he had found the Ephesians beset with heresy (Acts 20:28 - 31).

In fact, Paul had told the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:30), "Also of your own selves shall men rise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Earlier Paul had chided the Galatians (1:6,7) saying, "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." The Gnostic heresy which flourished in later centuries was already raising its ugly head, howbeit, it was seen here in germ form. Furthermore, verse 4 states, "Neither give heed to fables (muthois) and endless genealogies (aperantois genealogiais), which minister questions, rather than godly edifying, which is in faith: so do." The New International Version states that these myths were "cleverly invented stories." They were in all probability fictions of the Jewish theosophists and the pagan Gnostics. The Eastern and Western religions were already infiltrating Christianity with their poisons. It is sad, but in every age there are people who love to indulge in such strange mixtures of truth and error. Hymenaeus and Philetus, to name just two heretics, were sowing the seeds that were destined to bear so ripe a crop of error later (II Timothy 2:17). In just a few short months Paul would admonish Titus (Titus 1:13, 14), "Wherefore, rebuke them (the unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision) sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."

The genealogies, mentioned here were a list of names of one's forebears which proved their biological descent. Gnosticism traced their emanations or aeons from the divine Being down through ages, each one more degraded than its predecessor. The Oriental Jew at that time was also stressing Jewish genealogies, such as are found in the Old Testament, but especially from the Rabbinical books. These Jews were putting an allegorical interpretation on the Abrahamic and other genealogies. Yeager says, "Timothy was instructed to order the false teachers to stop teaching heresy and to pay no attention to the myths and Gnostic emanation theories" (Vol. XV, p. 320). "Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is God and no less God because incarnate in human flesh, and that all believers in Him are in the Godhead complete (John 17:21) (op. cit).

3. Paul's Condemnation of the False Teachers, 5 - 7

In this passage the Apostle Paul makes clear that any rebuking of the heretics should be done in Christian love. He writes, "Now the end (telos) or goal of the commandment is charity or love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience (suneideseos), and of faith unfeigned (anupokritou) genuine or sincere..." At no time should the Christian try to force or coerce anyone to embrace the tenets of Christianity without manifesting Christian love. This passage was written to awaken and foster love as the aim and tendency of the gospel message; whereas, the idle questions tended only to strife and hatred. Paul instructed Timothy that Christian love is the product of three sources (1) a cleansed heart; a heart made pure in affection and single in purpose by faith, (2) a good conscience; a conscience made free from the sense of guilt through justification in Christ's blood, and (3) a sincere faith; genuine faith, as opposed to that which is pretended or hypocritical.

Paul stated further than some have swerved (astochesantes) or erred from Christian love to vain jangling (mataiologian) empty, senseless, and disputatious talk. To swerve means to miss the mark like the marksman who misses his target, or like the traveler who never reaches his destination because he has taken the wrong turn and has failed to look for the familiar signs along the road. Did the Gnostics of Ephesus make this mistake? The existence of evil in the universe was something about which the Gnostic was overly concerned. It in something that God has not revealed to His creation so why should we spend precious time trying to know the mind of God.

4. The Divine Law Is Good, but Some Pervert It, 8 - 11

The Gnostics were desiring to become teachers of the law (vomodidaskaloi), but they understood neither the law nor how to explain it. They were rushing in where the angels fear to tread. Paul was trying to instruct Timothy and supply him with the ammunition wherewith he could fight the good fight of faith against the Gnostics. He does not criticize the law which is good or morally excellent; good in itself, if it is used lawfully (nomimos) verse 8. The law was a schoolmaster to lead man to repentance. It points out to man what God calls for in ethical living. As man views the law and observes how he falls short of God's standards, the law can prompt him to become involved in a program of progressive sanctification. He needs to clean up his act; he needs to view himself in God's law (mirror).

Paul concluded this passage by pointing out that the law was not made for the righteous man, but rather for the lawbreaker (anomois) or lawless and disobedient. A righteous man is that one who has been constituted righteous by justification, and is righteous by virtue of regeneration and sanctification. The lawless person is not that person who is ignorant of the law, but rather the person who lives as if there were no law. Paul described these individuals under two general classes, following the order of the Decalogue: first, sinners as arrayed before God. They are "for the lawless and disobedient" (those who refuse to be bound by any law, and who submit to no higher authority), "for the ungodly (asebesi)and for sinners (amartolois) " the impious and sinful; in nature and in act opposers of God), "for unholy (anosiois) and profane (bebelois)" those who are impure in life and irreverent toward that which is sacred; men who in spirit and in character are the moral opposites of the divine purity and sanctity. Second, sinners as arrayed against society. These are for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers (patroloais metroloais) or father and mother smiter; an action forbidden in the fifth commandment; for manslayers (androphonois) those to whom human life in not sacred; for whoremongers (pornois) or fornicators; for them that defile themselves with mankind (arsenokoitais) or sins of uncleanness forbidden in the seventh commandment, such as fornicators and Sodomites; for menstealers (andrapodistais) or kidnappers; those who kidnap men and women for slavery, either for manual labor or sexual activity; for liars (pseustais),for perjured persons or false swearers forbidden in the ninth commandment, "and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine" (any other form of sin imaginable is herein condemned). To disobey God's law will make a person commit all kinds of evil toward his fellowman. Every sin is a sin against God and God's word (sound doctrine). The unsaved, the unrighteous are under the control of Satan, and they will do whatever Satan tells them to do.

Sound doctrine demands that man must obey God's law. Of course, it declares that by nature he cannot keep it. So, it reveals his utterly lost and his thoroughly sinful condition.

* * * * * * * * * *

Paul concludes this passage by writing, "According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." He is saying that to have God's blessedness, man must recognize God's absolute perfection and his own utter sinfulness. Furthermore, Paul was deeply conscious of the gospel which had been entrusted to him by a holy and righteous God.

What The Truth Will Do

I Timothy 1:12 - 20

In the context, Paul graphically illustrates the effects of sound doctrine, sound preaching, and ethical living. Later, Paul writes to young Timothy, "Preach the Word..." The preaching of the Word is foolishness to the world, but to the saved, it is God's power unto salvation. Herein Paul gives young Timothy a most effective illustration of sound gospel teaching as contrasted with the disastrous effects of legalism; he related his own personal experience. He gives thanks for the privilege or ministering the Gospel; he reminded Timothy of his former life, and he gave all credit to the mercy and grace of God who had provided the Gospel.

1. Paul's Former Life of Unbelief, 12 -14

Paul gives thanks, "...I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." God saw in Paul a person who, once he was saved, would be a faithful witness to God's saving grace. This is a common phrase (I have grace) used in Luke 17:9. Paul was called out of the rankest of unbelief. He evaluated himself as a blasphemer (blasphemon) or railer; a persecutor (diokten);one whose speech was evil and injurious (hubristen) or despiteful. Paul sought to bring injury and suffering to those who believed in Jesus Christ. It was "stupid speech" directed against God, His Word, and His Spirit. Paul was an insolent man, ignorant (not knowing) whom he was blaspheming. Later God said to Ananias concerning Paul (Acts 9:16), "I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." Hendriksen says of this verse, "Beautifully the apostle combines two ideas: first, "I, though entirely unworthy, have been commissioned to proclaim the gospel of God's grace;" and secondly, "that grace and mercy was most gloriously displayed in my own conversion'" (p. 73).

Paul was a persecutor. When Jesus arrested him on the road to Damascus, he was pursuing God's people and finding any who were followers "of this way;" he would bind them and return them to Jerusalem for imprisonment and possible death (Acts 9:1 - 3). Paul was an insolent, outrageous man who says he was guilty of punishing them (the followers of Christ) often in every synagogue, and compelling them to blaspheme. He was exceedingly mad against them, and persecuted them even unto strange (foreign) cities (Acts 26:11). Yet Paul was grateful that he had obtained mercy from God, and God's sustaining grace had saved him and strengthened him. Furthermore, God had judged him trustworthy, and God had divinely appointed him a minister. What a miracle was worked in Paul by God's mercy and grace!

He was called out of a life of ignorance. Ignorance is not an excuse for guilt, but it is a reason for receiving mercy. There is an atonement for ignorance, but none for willful sinning. Although Paul's past conduct had been frightful and reprehensible, it had not amounted to the sin against the Holy Spirit. It had been the willful sin against better knowledge. Hebrews 10:26, 27 says, "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." When pursuing the followers of Christ, Paul thought he was doing God a service.

But, God's grace is exceedingly abundant to Paul and to all who have experienced it. Yeager in Volume XV, p. 336, 338 says, "God put Paul into the ministry despite the fact that before he was saved he was a blasphemer, a persecutor and an arrogant and insulting cad...Despite Saul's ignorance and the unbelief that contributed to his sinful life, the grace of God was superabundant along with the faith and love which he found in his association with Christ."

When Paul writes of the SUPER abounding grace of God, this fact probably identifies him as the writer of the pastoral epistles more than any other. He used the same root word huperpleonasen meaning to super-abound, be in exceeding abundance, over-exceed" in Romans 5:20; II Corinthians 4:15; 8:15: Philippians 4:17; I Thessalonians 3:12; II Thessalonians 1:3 and other scriptures.

2. Paul's Present Life of Belief, 15 - 17

Then Paul used a phrase the first of five times in the pastorals - "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance..." The Jerusalem Bible translates this phrase, "Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt; that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The gospel is centered in a Person who is God's Messiah (His Anointed One). The Bible (Acts 4:12) declares, "Neither is there salvation is any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." The details of our Lord's incarnation are recorded in Philippians 2:6 - 11. God's Word is reliable (like a granite rock), and it will do what God desires it to do.

Paul looked back and saw himself as a sinner of the first-rank, a chief (protos) of sinners. He felt that no one was a worse sinner than he. All of God's true children might contest Paul's evaluation of himself; are not all of us very, very sinful; more sinful than all others? Salvation is a personal thing; each individual stands alone before God. No one is too sinful; no one is a hopeless case. On one occasion Paul called himself "the least of the apostles" (I Corinthians 15:9), and in Ephesians 3:8 he called himself, "less than the least of all saints."

Paul's salvation is a pattern (hupotuposin) an example; an outline sketch of an artist for others who believe. If he could obtain the abundant mercy of God, can not we all? Our Lord certainly was longsuffering (makrothumian) or patient with Paul, and because of God's abundant mercy, Paul gave his testimony, over and over again (Acts 9:20; 22:1 - 21; 26:2 - 23; and throughout his epistles). Every Christian and Paul also could join the Apostle Peter when he wrote (II Peter 3:9), "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." The longsuffering of God indicates that He has divine patience with respect to persons, His wrath is withheld, and the repentant sinner is spared and mercy is shown. Glory!!

The songwriter wrote,

"Two wonders I confess;

the wonder of His glorious love
and my own unworthiness."

In verse 18 this "chiefest of sinners" bursts into a noble doxology. He could not exalt God enough; Christ is King of all aeons. Dealing a smashing blow to Gnosticism which viewed our Lord as an emanation from the supreme God, Paul says Christ is as eternal as God the Father. He, though incarnate in a material human body, is incorruptible; He is immortal, invisible to those on earth, but very visible in His resurrected body to those around the throne of God. Furthermore, He is the only wise God; the very God of very God. To Him is due "honor and glory forever and ever."

A sinner such as Paul, who has received God's abundant mercy and one who has been called into the ministry, could very well charge his assistant and fellow helper in the Lord. He writes in verse 18, "This charge (paraggelian) I commit (paratithemai) or put forth unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them might war a good warfare (strateian)." Paul had instructed young Timothy from the prophets from the time Timothy joined him and Barnabas at Lystra. Now Paul, the aged one, charges young Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith." There was nothing new in Paul's challenge to Timothy; he had heard Paul's prophetic utterances from the beginning of their friendship. Timothy was to use this information as ammunition in his fight of faith.

Two things Timothy was to be diligent to do: (1) keep the faith, and (2) continue to reason and think logically. Faith is the shield with which Timothy could "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one)" (Ephesians 6:16). Furthermore, Timothy was to think straight as he was led by God's Holy Spirit. Some (Hymenaeus and Alexander) have not keep the faith and thought straight, and they have become "wreckers" of the faith in Ephesus. Those men Paul had "delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." To "deliver (paideuthosin) or commit one over to Satan" is an act of discipline for unrepentant sin and involves putting the person out of the church or the fellowship of God's people into the realm controlled by Satan (I Corinthians 5:2, 7, 11, 13). God's salvation rescues man from sin, from guilt to righteousness, from slavery to freedom, from punishment to blessedness, from the wrath of God to the love of God.

Hendriksen says, "A Christian must be both a good soldier and a good sailor. Now a good sailor does not thrust away or discard the rudder of the ship. The good conscience - one that obeys the dictates of the word an applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit - is the rudder, guiding the believer's vessel into the safe harbor of everlasting rest" (p. 86).

Speaking to God for Man

I Timothy 2:1 - 7

Now that Paul has sketched in an introductory way (Chapter 1) the problem facing the Ephesian church under Timothy's care, he proceeds to advise young Timothy concerning the conduct of public worship. Prayer is an integral part of public worship. The privilege of prayer is incumbent upon all of God's children. We are admonished over and over again to pray for all. Prayer is communion with God; it is speaking to God for man. Through prayer we discover God's will, receive His strength, overcome temptations, and grow into the likeness of Christ.

1. All Christians Have the Privilege of Prayer - 1, 2

When the writer uses the word "therefore," it is obvious that he continues a logical resumption of the material in chapter 1. Paul describes prayer is at least four ways here. He mentions "supplications" first. Supplication (deeseis) is a request for the fulfillment of our needs which are so keenly felt by the Christian. We are totally dependent upon God the Father. These are humble requests made in which God, and He alone, can furnish the help that is needed. The next word is "prayers" (proseuchas) or an address to God. This word covers every form of reverent address directed to the Deity and denotes an attitude of worship and reverence. This word means "the taking hold of God" by means of confession, intercession, supplication, adoration and thanksgiving.

The word "intercessions" (enteuxeis) conveys the idea of a pleading in the interest of or in behalf of others. The Christian has access to God's throne room, the privilege of a sacred interview with God in simple childlike confidence. The fourth word here is "thanksgiving," (eucharistias) an expressed gratitude for all of God's blessings. The worshiper recognizes the mercies, temporal and spiritual, received from God for themselves and for all men. In doing this the worshipper is acknowledging and adoring God, through Christ, the Author and Dispenser of all good. Paul stated in Philippians (4:6) "Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests he made known to God." Unthankfulness is a great sin and is linked with unholiness, lying, and such by the apostle (II Timothy 3:2).

For whom should we pray? Pray for all men - sinners included. Who will pray for sinners if the saved do not? This command for such intercessory prayer is in contrast to the Jewish attitude toward the heathen (Gentiles). In verse 2 Paul says that we need to pray for leaders of state. Christians are to lift up all sovereign rulers of state - "For kings, and for all that are in authority..." In the writer's time, he was laboring under the cruel reign of the infamous Nero. If Paul could admonish Timothy to pray for him, we cannot fail to pray for authorities who are less cruel and exacting. Why pray for those in power? Pray for these that Christians would have the privilege of worshiping God according to His Word, and that we might live a life free from outward disturbances such as wars and persecutions. Christians should pray for peace so that the gospel might be preached, that Christ might be exalted, and that God might be glorified. "Paul's concern is that society may provide the best possible climate for the church to carry out the Great Commission. Prayer for social peace and economic prosperity may result in a social environment most conducive to an effective witness for Christ" (Yeager, Volume XV, page 350). Furthermore, we should pray for a life free from inner perturbation, agitation and disquietude.

2. All Christians Worship One God and One Mediator, 3 - 5

The Christian will account to God for his prayer life. Prayer is "good and acceptable (apodekton) or agreeable in the sight of God, our Savior." In God's sight prayer is both morally excellent and well pleasing, we will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10, 11) according to how or whether we lifted up others in prayer. It is God's will that all classes of people (rich and poor, bond and free, Jew and Gentile, ruler and subjects) come to the knowledge of the truth. If men are lost, it is because they opposed God's will Who gave His Son to save them. God wants the worship of all men, men from every rank and station, tribe and nation. He is not the God of one nation, but all nations. Redemption can be found in one God only. He is Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe, the Preserver and Benefactor of all men.

It is wise to note that God's will of benevolence rests upon all men. "For (God) maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). John wrote (I John 2:2), "And (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." So the infinite sacrifice provided a salvation adequate for, and freely offered to all men. These Scriptures and other biblical passages, however, do not teach a universal salvation.

Furthermore, "there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." As God-Man, Jesus combines two natures - the divine which He has always possessed and the human which He acquired in the incarnation. He is Son of God and Son of man. Just as Moses possessed the role of mediator in the Old Testament (Galatians 3:19, 20), so Christ is Mediator of the New Covenant. A mediator (mesites) is one who stands between two conflicting parties (parties who are variance); one who stands in the middle. A mediator is called in order to reconcile them, parties who are in nature and dignity so widely separated that they can communicate only through an intermediate person. Christ stands between sinful, ungodly, unsaved man and Jehovah, the Holy and Righteous God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Answer to Job's quest for a Daysman (Job 9:32, 33). He wrote hundreds of years before Christ's incarnation, "For (God) is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt (between) us, that might lay his hand upon us both." The Lord Jesus Christ, God's Man, is our Go-between, our Umpire, our Intercessor.

3. All Christians Have Christ as Their Ransom, 6, 7

To ransom means to buy back, buy from the slave market of sin. By our Lord's vicarious death, He purchased our salvation. He satisfied God's justice and it is He Whom we should proclaim to a lost world. He died in our place; we can go free from the curse of the law. The first Adam sold out the human race into sin; the second Adam (Christ) has ransomed us back from the slave market of sin. Paul used the word antilutron - the price paid for the liberation of those in bondage; He was our Substitute. Mankind was guilty, and liable to the punishment of death, and Christ gave Himself in our stead - anti (instead of). Elliott says, "In this important word the idea of a substitution of Christ in our stead cannot he ignored." (An American Commentary on the New Testament, Volume VI, page 31).

Paul states that it is this message which must be preached throughout the world. Paul viewed himself as a herald, an apostle to the Gentiles. He was divinely appointed and commissioned; he was ordained and charged with the responsibility or sharing this message. Although Paul was not one of the original Twelve, he had a special commission. His commission was to the Gentiles; God willed that the Gentiles be saved as well as the Jew. No racial or class distinctions are valid in the scope of the Gospel. Ananias conveyed God's message to the apostle Paul (Acts 9:15), "Go thy way; for (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel..."

God is the God of all men, Gentiles as well as Jews. This is the testimony to be borne in the Christian age. Paul preached it and we still preach it - the fullness and freeness of salvation in the gospel, as sufficient for, and offered to, all men, of every race and clime and tongue under heaven. Paul made this fact clear in Ephesians (3:6, 7) when he stated that God had revealed a mystery to him, how, "That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

The Christian has a great privilege of talking to God for men. As believer priests we have this privilege and responsibility. Furthermore, the Christian has the greatest opportunity one could ever imagine. He has the opportunity to know God personally in Christ Jesus and to be a personal representative of God to people for Him. He can speak to God in behalf of others.

Conduct in Public Worship

I Timothy 2:8 - 15

The Apostle Paul further writes to young Timothy on the subject of how he should conduct the public worship services. He proceeds to indicate who should offer prayers and in what spirit they should be offered. Having just discussed the place of prayer in public worship, Paul proceeds to those who will do the praying, and indicates the logical connection by the use of "therefore."

1. General Conduct For Men in Public Worship, 8, 9

Paul writes, "therefore;" that is, because of what had gone before, "I will (I wish, I purpose) that men should be praying." In other words, men (as distinguished from women) should do the praying in the public congregation. Public praying in the first century was not, however, restricted to the elders or clergy; all men should he willing to engage in public prayer. Male members of the congregation should be the leaders in public prayer. Does this mean that women should never pray in public? Not necessarily, for Paul wrote earlier (I Corinthians 11:5), "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head, for that is even all one as if she were shaved." So, if women wish to engage in public prayer, they must not aspire to leadership, but must recognize the headship of the man.

Men have the praying responsibility in public worship. With that responsibility goes a certain dedication. Men who pray should have the holy lives that reinforce their prayers. They are to have unpolluted and holy hands. Verse 8 does not mean that every praying man should lift his hands as he prays; Paul says that the man who prays should do so with spiritually unpolluted hands. He should possess clean hands and a pure heart. Different postures while praying are evident in the Bible - (1) standing, (2) hands spread out and/or lifted toward heaven, (3) with bowed head, (4) eyes lifted toward heaven, (5) kneeling, (6) falling down with the face upon the ground, (7) bowed with face between the knees, and (8) standing afar off while striking the breast. God seems to be more concerned with inner attitude of soul rather than bodily position.

Only men whose lives manifest practical righteousness should pray in public; those living openly in sin have no business offering public prayer, and should not be called upon to do so. Prayer should be offered "without wrath and doubting..." A man who expects his prayers to be heard and answered should have a life free from wrath and a heart free from unbelief or doubting. Yeager says, (Volume XV, p. 361) that, "Paul wanted the men of the church at Ephesus to stop fighting and arguing and start praying, and he wanted the women to stop showing off."

2. General Conduct for Women in Public Worship, 10 - 14

Women who attend public worship should be clothed modestly and decently. Chrysostom stated that women are not to dress as though they were going to a ball, to a marriage feast, or a carnival. Christian women should not copy the gaudy and sinful styles of the world if they are to please God in public worship. They are to pray, to ask pardon for their sins, to plead for their offenses, beseeching the Lord, and hoping to render him propitious to them. Away with hypocrisy! (Kent, The Pastoral Epistles, page 111).

Rather than so much concern with clothes and jewelry, women should be concerned with adorning themselves with good works. Every Christian woman should prize more highly a testimony to her Christian labors than a reputation as the best-dressed woman in the congregation. Good taste should always prevail, and display for vanity's sake is out of place. Hendriksen says that the women of Paul's day seemed to braid their hair and adorn the braids with jeweled tortoise-shell combs, or by pins of ivory or silver. The pin-heads often consisted of miniature images (an animal, a human hand, an idol, and the female figure). Braids in the hair often represented fortunes (page 107). One is reminded or Isaiah's description of the women of his day and their extravagance for ornaments (3:16 - 24). Jehovah God condemned these "daughters of Zion," by saying that He would smite them with a scab and uncover their nakedness.

Furthermore, women are to learn in silence (esuchia) or in quietness; women should not be contentious in a service, nor argue points in a worship service. A woman was not to yearn to exercise authority over a man by lecturing him in public worship called usurping authority (authentein) or govern. Apparently in the church at Philippi, Euodias and Syntyche were at cross purposes in the church and the result was much trouble (Philippians 4:2). If the woman has questions, she should wait until she gets home and ask her husband for answers to her questions? Can a woman teach? Paul himself declares that women can teach other women and children (Titus 2:3). A woman should not assume authority over men as a teacher.

There are two reasons for the subordination of women in public worship - (1) in creation, God formed Adam first, then Eve (Adam was to be the leader and Eve the follower); (2) in the fall, Eve was utterly deceived (exapatetheisa) or beguiled by Satan, and she led her husband to partake of the forbidden fruit. She usurped the authority of leadership. Eve assumed leadership, and Adam with full knowledge of the act, subordinated himself to her leadership and ate of the fruit (Genesis 3:lff ; Romans 5:19). Woman (Eve) taught and led man (Adam) once, but never again! There is not one Scripture in all of God's Holy Word to suggest that any woman has scriptural grounds for becoming a leader in public worship. She has no right to stand up in public assembly and argue with the pastor, the deacons, or any man who is in the seat of authority. Nor is there any authority for her to become a pastor or overseer in the church.

This is no wise infers that women are inferior to men; in fact, Christianity is the only religion in the world that so lifts womanhood to the proper elevation. Satan used a woman (Eve) to bring about the fall of the human race, but God used a woman (Mary) to bring about the salvation of the human race. God honored womanhood and especially motherhood. So does Christianity.

3. Through Woman, the Messiah Was Born - 15

What is meant when the scripture says, "But she (Eve) shall be saved through the childbearing (teknogonias), if they (all women) remain in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety." Childbearing in general is not referred to here; rather the promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ, the promised "Seed," purchased redemption at Calvary. It was through the Seed of woman that salvation was possible for Eve and for all women. Just as Eve was saved through faith in the promised "Seed" to come, so all women may experience full salvation through the same channel even though they are not leaders in the church.

Women cannot accuse the Apostle Paul of degrading them. Paul sends greetings to many of them - Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Julia, the sister of Nereus, Apphia, Lois and Eunice. He employed women in the service of the gospel, specifically older widows, deacons' assistants, and others in a supporting capacity. He emphasized that "in Christ" there is neither male or female. In relation to Him there is perfect equality. He recommended marriage, even for widows, and he praised the joys of Christian wifehood and motherhood. He holds women in high esteem (Hendriksen. pages 113, 114).


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