1 Timothy 2

In the light of these solemnizing considerations Paul commences his charge to Timothy in verse 1 of chapter 2. His first exhortation is significant. In the end of 1 Tim. 3 he tells us that the church-to which Timothy belonged, and to which we belong-is the "house of God" for God is dwelling today in the midst of His redeemed people. Now it was always God's intention that His house should be called "an house of prayer for all people" (Isa. 56: 7). The temple in Jerusalem should have been this, as our Lord's words in Mark 11: 17 show, and how much more so the house in which God dwells today? Only at the present time God's house has taken such a form that all nations do not come to it in order to pray, but rather the believers who form the house being also the household, "an holy priesthood" (1 Pet. 2: 5), they take the place of prayer and intercession with all men in view.

The great mass of mankind is wholly out of touch with God. In Paul's day the majority were worshippers of dumb idols and it is not otherwise today. How important then that we Christians should be busy in this service which is exclusively ours. In it we have immense scope for the only limit set is "all men" and then again for "kings and for all that are in authority." We are to pray for all such and to give thanks as well. God is "kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" so we may well render thanks on their behalf.

Our prayers for those in authority have a good deal of reference to ourselves: it is that we may be permitted to live godly lives in quietness and tranquillity. Those who compose God's house should carry upon them the stamp of godliness, and although times of persecution may be overruled of God for the promotion of courage and endurance amongst His people, yet it is in times of quietness and rest that most they are edified and established, as Acts 9: 31 bears record.

But in praying for all men generally our requests are to be purely evangelic. The God whom we approach is a Saviour God who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Have we come to the knowledge of the truth ourselves? Then we have found it to be salvation and we are put into touch with a Saviour God and His character is stamped upon us. He desires the salvation of men and so do we. In our case the natural outlet for our evangelic desires is prayer.

The expression of God's loving desire for men is far different, being found in the ransom gift of Christ. God indeed is one-this fact was made manifest in the Old Testament, in contrast to the many gods of the heathen-the Mediator between God and men is equally one, the Man Christ Jesus. The priestcraft of Rome has built up in the minds of its votaries an elaborate system of many mediators, but here is one sentence of Scripture which demolishes its system at one blow.

Long before Christ appeared the hearts of men yearned for a mediator. The book of Job is evidence of this, for that patriarch felt the immense gulf that lay between God and himself. "He is not a man as I am" was his complaint, "neither is there any Daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both" (Job 9: 32, 33). The One who takes up the part of Daysman or Mediator must Himself be God to fully represent God, and must be Man to rightly represent man. The Man Christ Jesus is He. Being Man we have no need of further men to come in as subsidiary mediators between Him and ourselves.

And then, oh wonder of wonders! the Mediator became the Ransom. Being Man He could rightly offer Himself as the ransom price for men, and being God there was infinite value in the ransom price that He offered Hence none are excluded on God's part. His desires for the salvation of men embrace all: the ransom work of Christ had all in view. This is one of those Scriptures that states the scope and bearing of the death of Christ rather than its actual realized effects. All are not saved, as we know sadly enough, but the blame of that lies upon their side and not upon God's. The tidings of Christ's ransom work are the subject of gospel testimony in the appointed season. Now is that appointed season and the Apostle himself was the great herald thereof in the Gentile world.

All this has been brought before us by the Apostle to enforce upon us how necessary it is that prayer for all men, and not only for ourselves and our own small interests, should mark the church of God if it is to rightly set forth the God whose house it is. But who are to actually voice the church's prayers? The answer is, the men. The word used in this eighth verse is not the one which means mankind, the human race in general, but that which means man distinctively, the male, as contrasted with the female.

Verse 8 then brings before us that which is to characterize Christian men, and verses 9 to 15 that which is to characterize Christian women. The men are to be marked by holiness and the absence of anger and doubting, or "reasoning" as it more literally is. But then the reasoner usually becomes a doubter so that there is not much difference between the two words. Any breakdown in holiness, any allowance of anger or reasoning is an effectual barrier to effectual prayer, and indicates that there is but little sense of the presence of God.

The women too are to be sensible of the presence of God. Those addressed are spoken of as "Women professing godliness" or more literally "Women professing the fear of God." The woman living in the fear of God will not run after the extremes of fashion but rather adorn herself in the modest and quiet way of which verse 9 speaks. Moreover she will practice good works and also be content to take the place which God has assigned to her. That place is governed by two considerations, according to this passage. First, there was God's original act in creation giving priority and headship to the man. This is mentioned in verse 13. Then there is that which happened at the fall when Eve took the leadership and was deceived, and of this verse 14 speaks.

There is not the slightest ambiguity about this passage. There is really no doubt as to what it teaches. Nor is there any uncertainty about the reasons given for woman's place of subjection and quietness in God's house. Those reasons have nothing to do with any peculiar prejudices of the Apostle as a Jew or as a bachelor, as some would have us believe. They are founded in God's original order in creation, and in that order confirmed and perhaps accentuated as the result of the fall. Genesis 3: 16 is explicit in naming two results which were to follow for the woman consequent upon her sin. The second of those two results is alluded to in the verses we have been considering, while the first result is alluded to in verse 15 of our chapter, and in connection with that a gracious proviso is attached, no mention of which is found in Genesis 3.

The modern feminist movement must of necessity come into violent collision with the instructions here laid down, and end by rejecting this small portion of the Word of God. This rejection may seem to the unthinking a comparatively harmless thing. But is it so? There is the allied modernist movement which comes into equally violent collision with the truth of the virgin birth of Christ, with His atoning death, with His resurrection. There is just as much reason-or just as little-for conceding the point in the one case as in the other. True, we may not have the slightest wish to concede the point to the modernist, and we may have a good deal of feeling as to matters raised by the feminist but to be swayed by such feelings is to stand on dangerous and uncertain ground. Are we then to virtually say that we believe what commends itself to our way of thinking and what does not we reject? Away with such a thought!

May all our readers stand honestly and happily and altogether upon the authority and integrity of the Word of God.