1 Timothy


1. Instruction on Prayer, 2:1-3:1a

i] Prayer for all people


Paul now has some words for Timothy on the issue of congregational prayer, making the point that the church is a praying community.


i] Context: See 1:1-11. With the introduction completed, Paul now moves to instruction. Beginning with an exhortation to pray for the salvation of all people, Paul moves on to a larger section where he deals with organisational matters in the church. In general terms, the rest of the letter may simply be described as instruction for "the ordering of Christian life", Barrett. Quinn and Wacker suggest that the "composition turns on a central axis of prophetic texts, hymnic and oracular, which are proposed and interpreted for Timothy by Paul for the benefit of the church, 3:14-4:5. Around this axis, apostolic commissions for Timothy are arranged." If we accept this arrangement, the first set of instructions cover 2:1-3:13 and deal with matters of prayer, of men and women leading in worship, and of the qualifications of bishops and deacons.

"First of all then ...", ESV, the issue of prayer; "Prayer - Contents and Manner", Houlden, 2:1-3:1a.

Second, the qualifications of church leaders, 3:1b-13.


ii] Background: See 1:1-11.


iii] Structure: Paul's instructions on prayer for all peoples:

Instruction / exhortation, v1-2:

For all people and all authorities;

that we may live at peace.

The basis of prayer, v3-6:

The will of God for the salvation of all;

Through the mediation of Christ.

Paul's apostolic function to teach these truths, v7.

The manner of prayer, v8:

"without anger or disputing" (also serving to introduce the next unit of teaching).


iv] Interpretation:

During public worship the faithful should pray for all people, including the heads of government, v1-2. By directly including government officials, it is possible that Paul is responding to the charge that Christians are anti-social. The inclusion of prayers for the Emperor and secular authorities may derive from a desire to be politically correct, but is more likely driven be Biblical principles relating to the function of secular authority under God for ordered society. The exhortation to pray for "all kinds of individuals", v3-7, expresses the universal offer of salvation found in Christ and seems to reflect a reaction to exclusivity, a heresy often evident in the Christian church. Finally, in v8, Paul expresses his desire that this prayer for the salvation of all people should be offered with pure intent and free from quarrelling.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 2:1

Instruction on prayer, v1-15: i] Pray for all people, v1-2. This prayer for everyone should include the secular authorities, v2a, and this so that people may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness, v2b.

parakalw (parakalew) pres. "I urge" - i exhort. Probably nothing stronger than "I ask" is intended, although Mounce opts for the stronger "I urge."

oun "then" - therefore. Usually inferential, serving to draw a logical conclusion, but sometimes transitional. When used with a verb of exhortation, as here, it is most likely inferential. Paul is picking up on his instruction to Timothy in 1:18 concerning his call to ministry, and so on the ground of this instruction "I therefore urge ..."

prowton adv. "first" - first. Is it of first importance, or first in time? This exhortation is certainly the first in a list of exhortations, so first in time, but first in importance / "priority", Marshall, is more likely; "above everything else", Mounce.

pantwn gen. adj. "of all" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

poieisqai (poiew) pres. pas. inf. "that .... be made" - to be made. The infinitive serves to introduce a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what Paul is urging; "I urge .... that ........... be made." The accusative "requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving" serve as the accusative subjects of the infinitive.

dehseiV (iV ewV) "requests" - entreaties, requests. "Direct requests made to God to intercede in some way for his people", Towner.

proseucaV (h) "prayers" - prayers. "A more general word for prayer", Knight.

enteuxeiV (iV ewV) "intercession" - petitions. "Prayer in its most urgent and individual form", Ellicott, so more like the English "supplications", as opposed to "intercessions" for others.

eucaristiaV (a) "thanksgiving" - thanksgivings. Prayers that express thankfulness to God.

uJper + gen. "for" - on behalf of, for. Expressing benefit / representation. Possibly going with "thanksgiving", so "giving thanks for all men", but this seems unlikely, so giving the sense "of first importance I urge you to pray for the salvation of all people."

pantwn anqrwpwn "everyone / all people" - all men. "I urge you that ........ be offered on behalf of all mankind", Cassirer.


Paul now specifically identifies rulers as an object of prayer. Yet, why pray for rulers? Paul primarily identifies peacefulness as the object of such prayer, ie., we are to pray that rulers perform their God-given duty to reign with justice on behalf of all citizens and in so doing provide an environment for friendly human coexistence; peace accords with God's will. This enables believers to "practice Christianity as it ought to be practised", Barrett, ie., "in all reverence to God and all dignity to men", Barclay. Given the following verses, making known the gospel in word (evangelism) and sign (the love of the brotherhood) is certainly in Paul's mind at this point.

uJper + gen. "for" - on behalf of. Expressing benefit / representation.

basilewn (euV ewV) "kings" - The sense is quite broad, covering the emperor and his regional representatives.

twn ... ontwn (eimi) pres. part. "[all] those" - [and of all the ones] being. Taking the adjective "all" as a substantive, "everyone", the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "everyone"; "everyone who is in high position." Referring to "those in a position of status, and corresponds to those holding various imperial appointments throughout the empire", Towner.

en + dat. "in" - in [authority]. Local, sphere; in the state, or condition of "authority".

iJna + subj. "that" - that [we may lead, conduct]. Probably introducing a purpose clause, "in order that", but possibly epexegetic, specifying the content of the prayer.

hremon adj. "peaceful" - a tranquil, peaceful, undisturbed [and quiet]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to lead, conduct." A rather rare word, but "peaceful" is probably on the mark.

bion (oV) "lives" - life. "Life" in the sense of physical existence.

en + dat. "in" - in. Here adverbial, introducing modal clause expressing manner, "the manner in which the Christian is to pursue life", Marshall; "with all devotion and propriety", NJB.

eusebeia/ (a) "godliness" - [all] piety. Referring to the spiritual life.

semnothti (hV ou) "holiness" - [and] reverence, dignity, gravity, respectability, seriousness. Possibly "moral earnestness, affecting outward demeanour and inward intentions", Kelly, "High standards of morality", Barrett, although it should not be limited to just moral behaviour. "With a proper sense of God and of our responsibility to him for what we do with our lives", Phillips.


ii] The exhortation to pray for everyone is grounded on God's desire to save all people and for them to come to a knowledge of the truth, v3-4.

gar "-" - for. Variant. Introducing a causal clause further explaining why we should pray for secular authorities; "for this is ...."

touto "this" - Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. Possibly referring generally to the spiritual and practical life of a Christian, but more likely referring back to the prayer for all people, including government leaders and officials; "such prayer is a lovely thing", Barclay.

kalon adj. "good" - is good. Predicate nominative. If expressing a "moral good" then possibly "a noble thing to do", Johnson.

apodekton adj. "pleases" - [and] acceptable / pleasing. Predicate nominative. It is possible to translate this word as "pleases", but do God's people ever please him? The Son certainly pleases the Father, but when it comes to believers, the good pleasure of the Godhead is limited to our repentance and, as a consequence, our being in Christ. "This is what is right and finds acceptance in the sight of God", Cassirer.

enwpion + gen. "-" - before = in the presence of. Spacial.

qeou (oV) gen. "God" - [the saviour of us], god. Standing in apposition to "saviour", genitive in agreement with the genitive "saviour". ""God" is likely to be "God the Father."

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - of us. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective.

tou swthroV (hr hroV) "saviour" - the saviour. Such describes God as "the source of salvation, the architect of the salvation plan", Wilson.


Paul gives the reason behind this prayer for "everyone", this prayer for all kinds of people, particularly those in authority. God desires that the powers of darkness be limited in their effect upon society so that in peace and security the gospel may have ease of access, allowing all kinds of people (Gentiles, slaves, kings, etc., as well as Jews) to come to a knowledge of the truth.

o}V rel. pro. "who" - who [wants]. Nominative subject of the verb "to will." Wilson suggests a causal sense is present; prayer for all is right and acceptable to God "because he wishes ...."

pantaV "all [men] / all [people]" - all [men]. Accusative object of the verb "to will." Again "all kinds of individuals."

swqhnai (swzw) aor. pas. inf. "to be saved" - This infinitive, as with Ellen, "to come", is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "wills / wants", although with a cognitive verb, as here, the infinitive may be classified as introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what God "wants". None-the-less, the verb qelw is always completed by an infinitive. The phrase has always been a hotbed of contention between Armenians and Calvinists. Armenians want the "all saved" to be understood in a universal sense, ie., a general offer of salvation to all mankind. Calvinists want the verse understood in the sense of the salvation of "all the elect". It is of course possible that Paul is referring to the salvation of all races and nations, rather than just Judaism. Virtually all the translations, and the vast majority of commentators, understand "saved" as "saved from sin", yet it is quite possible that it means "made safe", "preserved", cf., Simpson. So, in the context, the prayer that society be protected from chaos, is in accord with the Divine will that all be kept safe, living in peace and stability. But then, what of the phrase "come to a knowledge of the truth"? Clearly, the ultimate purpose behind societal stability is that humanity can see the hand of the Divine in the created order, human society and especially in the free reign of gospel proclamation. In disorder, violence and famine, there is little opportunity to reach out and know God. At the practical level, it is clear that social order makes the transmission of the gospel easy. So, God wills a framework for social order such that the truth of the gospel may be made known.

kai "and" - It is usually taken that the infinitival phrase "to come to a knowledge of the truth" is appositional to "to be saved", in fact, given the equal standing of both phrase, it is possible that the "and" here forms a hendiadys where the two phrases make a single statement. As noted above, these notes do not accept that view.

elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "to come" - to come. Complementary infinitive "To come to" as in "accepting the gospel message", Mounce.

eiV "to" - to, into. Spacial; of direction toward.

alhqeiaV (a) gen. "of the truth" - [a knowledge] of the truth. The genitive is usually classified as verbal, objective, but it can be treated as adjectival, epexegetic, "a knowledge which consists of the truth." Referring to a "coming to know and acknowledge the truth of the gospel .... of the person and work of Christ", Knight.


iii] Theological support for the statement that God "wants all people to be saved", v5-6. Paul seems to quote a creedal statement at this point: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and people, a person, Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all", Mounce. Christ's sacrifice serves as "the proof and guarantee, given in his good time, that God's desire is indeed the salvation of all mankind", Barclay.

gar "for" - More explanatory than causal, "indeed / to be sure", Marshall.

ei|V "there is one [God]" - there is one [god]. This numeral serves as a predicate adjective. Clearly a rephrasing of the Shema, "the Lord our God is one Lord."

kai "and" - and. Either adjunctive, "also", or ascensive, "even"; "there is one who is God, one who is also (even) the mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ", Marshall. With this translation, Marshall suggests that Paul has established both the divinity and humanity of Christ, along with his role of mediation between mankind and God through the atonement, cf. v6.

mesithV (hV ou) "mediator" - [one] mediator, go-between. Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. A rare word in Hellenistic Gk. referring to a person who facilitates a transaction between two persons, extending to a mediator between warring nations.

qeou kai anqrwpwn gen. "between God and men / mankind" - of god and of men. The noun "mediator" takes a genitive complement, as here, prompting the sense "between", as NIV, cf., Wallace 135.

anqrwpoV (oV) "the man [Christ Jesus]" - a man [christ jesus]. Nominative in apposition to "mediator", with the nominative "Jesus Christ" standing in apposition to "man". Anarthrous = one possessing the nature of a man, therefore "a person."


oJ douV (didwmi) aor. part. "who gave [himself]" - the one having given. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing "the man Jesus Christ." Obviously referring to Christ's giving of himself as a redemptive sacrifice.

antilutron (on) "a ransom" - a ransom. Accusative complement of the direct object "himself" standing in a double accusative construction. As of the price paid for the release of a slave. The word is used without a prefix in Matt.20:28, Mk.10:45, and Tit.2:14, but only here in the NT and LXX in this intensive form. Obviously referring to Christ who, as mediator, makes a payment through his sacrifice for the release / freedom of those unable to obtain that release / freedom for themselves. Given that the goal of this payment is release / freedom and that the word is only being used as a metaphor (ie. the payment is not made to someone, rather the language is expressive of God's redemption of Israel = his buying Israel back from slavery, Isa.43:1, 44:22f, 48:20, 51:10, 52:9, 53:10, 63:9) it is possible to translate the phrase freely; "he sacrificed himself to win freedom for all mankind", REB.

uJper + gen. "for" - on behalf of. Expressing benefit / representation; "on behalf of all mankind as a whole", Barrett.

pantwn "all" - Is the "all" a universal "all" or a representative "all"? Rabbi Duncan puts it this way, God "saves all who hear the gospel, except those who reject it". Both Calvinists and Armenians could agree with this statement, although the problem remains. It seems likely that Paul only wants to make the point that the gospel is now offered to all humanity, not just the Jews. This truth is displayed in the fact that God is the one and only God for all mankind, and Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and all mankind.

to marturion (on) "the testimony / this has now been witnessed" - the testimony, evidence. Nominative standing in apposition to "the one having given."The sense of this phrase is somewhat obscure and this is evidenced by the numerous variants which have emerged. It is likely that it serves as an editorial comment by Paul on the creed outlined in v5-6a. Christ's sacrifice achieves an objective end, but also serves as the witness / testimony (that which stands as evidence. Note also the presence of the specifying article) of God's love for his creation, cf., Rom.3:21-30, 5:8.

idioV adj. dat. "in its proper / at the proper" - in one's = its own. The dative is adverbial, temporal, "in, within, while, during" "the fitting time", NEB, ie. the appropriate time during which a witness / testimony can be made.

kairoiV (oV) dat. "time" - times. The plural "times" is something of a problem. The phrase, "the fitting / proper times" is repeated in 1Tim.6:15, Tit.1:3, and on both occasion the plural "times" is used. Paul uses the singular in Galatians 6:9, "the appropriate season" = "the right time", but there Paul is referring to the appearing of Jesus as a singular event. So, here the plural may be idiomatic, and so equivalent to the singular, but it seems more likely that Paul has in mind "a period of time, rather than a point of time ..... from Christ's coming onward", Knight. During such a period of time it is appropriate / fitting / proper for the witness / testimony of Christ's sacrifice to be made known.


iv] Paul goes on to explain that his mission is tied closely to God's desire to save "all people", v7.

eiV o} "and for this purpose" - to which. The preposition eiV here expresses purpose, "for which witness / testimony", but possibly reference / respect, "with respect to this witness / testimony."

egw "I" - Emphatic.

eteqhn (tiqhmi) aor. pas. "was appointed" - i was appointed. Theological passive.

khrux (ux uktoV) "a herald" - a preacher, herald [and apostle]. "Herald" and "apostle" stand as nominative complements of egw, "I". Along with "teacher", "preacher / herald", probably in the sense of one who proclaims the gospel, Paul seems to be defining the function of an apostle; "This and this only has been my appointed work (as an apostle): getting this news (as a herald) to those who have never heard of God and explaining (as a teacher) how it works by simple faith and plain truth", Peterson.

alhqeian legw ou yeudomai "I am telling the truth, I am not lying" - the truth i speak, i do not lie. This statement serves as an independent interjection within the main clause. The point of this emphatic statement is somewhat unclear, but it does seem likely that Paul is emphasising "the universality of the gospel for the Gentiles", Marshall.

en + dat. "-" - [a teacher of gentiles] in [faith and truth]. The preposition here is adverbial, modal, expressing manner. "Faith and truth" are usually translated as a hendiadys, as NIV, but if taken separately, as TNIV, then either Paul teaches truth and the pathway to appropriating this truth is faith, or Paul exercises his apostolic ministry "faithfully and truthfully", Hanson.

eqnwn (oV) gen. "to the Gentiles / of the Gentiles" - of gentiles. The genitive is usually taken as adjectival, verbal, objective, as NIV; "a teacher serving the Gentiles", Cassirer. Possibly just attributive, limiting "teacher", as TNIV. Sometimes just meaning "nations", but here likely to be "Gentiles", given "the specific issue being faced by the letter: whether a program of Law observance such as that forwarded by the would-be teachers (1:7) is efficacious and appropriate", Johnson.


1 Timothy Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]