Thursday, July 26, 2012


     FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men,

2 For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.

3 For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior,

4 Who wishes all men to be saved and increasingly to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth: (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

1 Paul now begins giving instructions for public worship. He was concerned that divine worship should be carried on in Ephesus most effectively and helpfully. So he says, "I urge (also translated "exhort"); it indicates the urgency of Paul's admonition. "First of all" emphasizes primacy in importance rather than time. In others words, the most essential part of public worship is prayer.
   The NT has seven different Greek nouns for prayer, four of which occur in this verse. (1) "Requests" : This word 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. (2) "Prayers" : This word always signifies praying to God. It it used for both private and public prayers (here public). (3) "Intercession" : This word was used in the sense of "conversation" and then of "petition." Perhaps it suggests the idea that prayer should be a conversation with God, but it also implied boldness of access to God's presence. We must come to God with full confidence and enter into close communion with him in a conversational atmosphere if we want to experience depth and richness in our prayer life. And only those who really commune with God in private can edify others in their public prayers. (4) "Thanksgiving" : This word suggests that giving thanks should always be a part of our praying. Thanking God for what he has done for us in the past strengthens our faith to believe that he will meet our needs in the future.

2 Prayers of these varied types are to be made "for everyone" (v.1), but especially "for kings and for all those in authority." The term "king" applies both to the emperor at Rome and to lesser rulers. When one remembers that the Roman emperor when Paul wrote this letter was the cruel monster Nero-who later put Paul and Peter to death-one realizes that we should pray for our present rulers, no matter how unreasonable they may seem to be. Prayer for "all those in authority" in various levels of government should have a regular place in all public worship.
   The purpose of this is logical and significant: ;that we may live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and honesty." The fact that we are permitted to assemble peaceably for public worship is dependent on our rights under law-law as upheld and enforced by our legislators, administrators, and judicial leaders. We ought to pray for them, and also thank God for them.
   :Peaceful" has the basic idea of restfulness not marred by outward disturbance; "quiet" suggests inner stillness that accompanies restfulness. The word for "godliness" basically means "piety" or "reverence"; anyone who is irreverent is living an ungodly life. "Holiness" suggests reverence, seriousness, and respectfulness (cf. also 1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 2:7).

3-4 Such a life is "good"; also meaning "beautiful" or "excellent" and "pleases God our Savior" (1 Timothy 1:1). He "wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." This statement accords well with John 3:16 and with the declaration in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 that Christ died for all. Salvation has been provided for all, but only those who accept it are saved. "Knowledge" means precise and accurate knowledge. Such knowledge of God's truth is both the root and fruit of salvation. Paul here sounds a frequent note of the Pastorals-true knowledge saves one from error.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].



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