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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Timothy 2

 

 

Verse 4

1 Timothy 2:4. Who will have all men to be saved, It is here asserted by an inspired apostle, that God desireth the salvation of all men; and, in order to their bring capable of higher degrees of glory and happiness, would have them embrace the gospel, wherever it is preached, and become members of his preparatory kingdom. This is a pleasing thought, and cannot but be highly grateful to all benevolent minds: and if it should be inquired, "Why then are not all men saved?—Is not God infinite in power? Cannot he effect what he desires?"—The proper answer would be, that God is undoubtedly infinite in power, and therefore able to do whatsoever he pleases; but, that his manner of dealing with intelligent creatures, and with the inanimate part of the creation, is very different; because the state of the creatures themselves is very different. In the natural, or inanimate world, God, by his mighty power, effecteth whatever he desireth; and therein he acts according to the nature of inanimate things, which are entirely passive: but should he act after the same manner with intelligent beings, to whom, through his grace, he gives the offer of eternal happiness or eternal misery, heaven or hell, he woulddestroy their make; and treat them like what they are not, mere inanimate and passive creatures;—a thing whichinfinite wisdom can never do. Should he attempt to force sinners to become penitent and holy, the very force would destroy the nature of their holiness, and render it as improper to reward them, as it would be to reward a clock for going right, when all the wheels, and springs, and weights, were in their due order and situation. And if God sincerely desire the salvation of all, it is necessary that so wise and good a Being should in the present state of mankind, who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, offer to all, such a measure of his grace, as is sufficient to bring all who duly improve it to the eternal enjoyment of himself in glory: without which, indeed it is not easy to see how the wicked, who finally perish, can be left without excuse. But when he deals with intelligent beings in this stateof trial according to the use or abuse of his free grace, which alone gives them a free choice,—a power to stand or fall; it is not difficult to account for the perishing of such multitudes, even though God would have all men to be saved. The declaration of the divine benevolence to all mankind, is here subjoined as a reason why the Christians were to pray for all men: if God was ready to save them, surely they ought to be ready to pray for them. But it was also peculiarlydesigned as an oblique reproof ofthe Judaizing Christians, for their bigotry to their own nation, and their contempt of the Gentile Christians, or Gentiles in general. St. Paul here lets them know, that GOD judgeth otherwise, and therefore they ought to do so. He makes no distinction under the gospel between Jew and Gentile; and they ought to imitate the divine benevolence.


Verse 5

1 Timothy 2:5. The man Christ Jesus; Christ's being styled man, when spoken of as the Mediator between God and men, is no more an argument against his being also God, in the discharge of that office; than its being at other times said, that, "the Lord of glory was crucified, and God purchased the church with his own blood," (l Cor. 1 Timothy 2:8. Acts 20:28.), is an argument against his being man, in his sufferings and bloodshed: and as he is expressly called the one mediator, this must exclude all others, such as saints and angels, which the papists set up, and idolatrously worship as their mediators; in like manner as the heathens had set up many mediators, to pacify and intercede with their superior gods.


Verse 6

1 Timothy 2:6. Who gave himself That is, cheerfully and willingly. See John 10:18. For all, is added for the same reason as all men in 1 Timothy 2:4. To be testified in due time, is, according to the Greek, a testimony to his own times. Jesus Christ is called a faithful witness, Revelation 1:5 and is said to have witnessed before Pilate a good confession; 1 Timothy 6:13. Some would connect this with the next verse thus;—A ransom for all: a doctrine to be borne witness to in due time; of which I am appointed a preacher, &c. See 2 Timothy 1:11.


Verse 7

1 Timothy 2:7. (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;)— St. Paul uses such solemnity in asserting this doctrine, because the Jews were so much averse to it, and were ready to charge his preaching the gospel among the Gentiles, either upon the want of a due regard to his own nation, or some view of avarice or ambition; looking upon the Gentiles as the most detestable creatures, and probably growing more inveterate against them in proportion to the degree in which theywere compelled to permit them to dwell in their own holy land, and often to associate with them.


Verse 8

1 Timothy 2:8. Lifting up holy hands, &c.— The lifting up of hands in prayer was a very antient custom. See Exodus 17:11. Psalms 134:2; Psalms 141:2. Isaiah 1:15. Lamentations 3:41. The expression of holy hands may allude to the custom of washing their hands before solemn prayer, which prevailed among the Jews; that they might hereby express their desire of inward purity: and the caution against wrath might be more suitable, as the manyinjuries which the Christians received from their persecutors, might tempt them to some imprecations against them, not agreeable to the gentle and benign genius of their holy religion. The apostle might likewise have a view to those imprecatory prayers which the Jews made use of against the Christians,—of which some forms are still extant in their ritual. In this sense the apostle may be understood as endeavouring to restrain all Christians from copying so malignant a temper. Some render the phrase χωρις διαλογισμου, without debate, disputing, or contention; but the common interpretation seems preferable, as it suggests another very important thought, different from that inferred by the word wrath; namely, the absolute necessity of faith in prayer.


Verse 9-10

1 Timothy 2:9-10. In like manner also, Dr. Heylin reads the verses thus: And also that the women [in your assemblies] be dressed decently, adorning themselves with bashfulness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, &c. 1 Timothy 2:10 but with good works, as it becometh women professing piety; that is, the Christian religion. The apostle often uses piety or godliness as synonimous with Christianity. See 1 Timothy 2:2. Estius observes, that this discourse concludes with yet stronger force against all foppery in men.


Verse 12

1 Timothy 2:12. I suffer not a woman to teach, The apostle must be understood as limiting this restraint to public assemblies. See 1 Corinthians 14:35.


Verse 13

1 Timothy 2:13. Adam was first formed, It is plain that the apostle does not mean to put the whole of his argument upon the priority of the man's creation in point of time; for, on that principle, the birds and beasts would have the pre-eminence even of Adam; but he refers only to the human species, and to the regard which God expressed for the ease and comfort of man, by making the woman to be his helpmate and companion. So that it is the same thought, in fewer words, which is expressed more fully, 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. The man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man.


Verse 14

1 Timothy 2:14. And Adam was not deceived, Not first deceived. The apostle hereby seems to intimate, that the tempter chose to make his first attack on the woman, as being, even in her original and most glorious state, the inferior, and consequently less fit in future life to take the lead in important affairs. The verse may be paraphrased thus: "It is further to be recollected, that, at the fatal entrance of sin into the world, Adam was not immediately deceived by the fraud of the serpent; but that artful seducer chose to begin his attack on the woman; who, being deceived by him, was firstinthetransgression,andprevailed upon Adam by her solicitations to offend. Now it should be a humbling consideration to all her daughters, that their sex was so greatly concerned in the introduction of guilt and misery, and make them less forward in attempting to be guides to others, after such a miscarriage."


Verse 15

1 Timothy 2:15. Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in child-bearing, Many and various are the interpretations of this obscure passage. Mr. Locke understands it of being carried safely through child-bearing; which sense Dr. Whitby endeavours to illustrate at large. See on Romans 7:5. 1 Corinthians 3:15. Dr. Benson observes, "Having intimated that the man was superior by creation, and the subjection of the woman increased by the fall, the apostle here declares, that if the Christian women continued in holiness and charity, the curse pronounced upon the fall, Genesis 3:16 would be removed or mitigated." Instead of in child-bearing, some render the Greek, by child-birth; namely, by the birth of the Messiah; an interpretation, which Dr. Doddridge adopts, "as, on attentive deliberation, the most probable." His paraphrase is as follows: "Yet, let them not be despised or upbraided on this account; considering, on the other side, thatshe was also happily instrumentalin producing the great promised Seed, (Genesis 3:15.) who was derived from a woman without any human father; and so they shall be saved, as I may say, by child-birth, if there be a suitable readiness not only to profess, but to obey the gospel:—if they continue, &c." See the Introduction to this chapter.

Inferences. How abundantly richer are the privileges of believers under the gospel dispensation than under the Mosaic! and this glorious dispensation has been offered both to Jews and Gentiles, high and low, greater and lesser sinners, in a far more extensive manner than the other was: and, blessed be God! multitudes have come under this high dispensation to the saving knowledge of Christ, who is the only Mediator between the offended God and offending man; and who freely gave himself up to death, as a price of redemption, to satisfy divine justice for all that will perseveringly believe in him, to save them from sin, and from the wrath to come. What a blessed and encouraging ground of hope, and of prayer, does this chapter afford for kings, and governors, and people; that, by the means of a gospel-ministry, which Christ has appointed to testify his atoning death, they may be brought to know and believe in him, though at present they be strangers and enemies to him! and how pleasing to God is it, that Christians, on all occasions, whenever they are engaged in divine worship, without regard to any distinction of places, be importunate in prayer and hearty in thanksgivings, for their political governors, for they are ordained of God for the good of the community, that, under their protection and favour, we may live in quiet possession of our religious and civil rights, and have full liberty for the discharge of all moral and Christian duties!

Women, as well as men, are to behave with decency in public worship, like persons professing godliness: they ought not to deck themselves with splendid attire; they ought not to set their hearts on fine and sumptuous dress, but on the infinitely richer and brighter ornaments of virtue and grace, and abounding in every good work: and remembering the rank in which God has placed their sex by the laws of creation; and after the fall, in which the woman was first in the transgression, they should take heed of every thing that looks like an affectation of superiority over the man, and be silent learners with due subjection, and not preachers in the church: and as ever they would be comforted under the dismal effects of the fall, and be carried safe through the sorrows and dangers of child-bearing, and get at last to heaven, it behoves them to live in the exercise of faith and love, chastity, holiness, and sobriety: for, blessed be God, here is a promise of rich mercy to such.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The apostle exhorts,

1. That supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made in the church for all ranks and conditions of men; particularly for kings, and for all that are in authority, the inferior magistrates, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, protected from all violence and injuries; and, in all godliness and honesty, evincing our unfeigned piety to God, and our unimpeached integrity towards men.

2. He suggests the strongest reasons to support his exhortations. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who enjoins universal charity, and will have all men to be saved; as many of all nations, ranks, and conditions, Gentiles as well as Jews, high and low, rich and poor, as will accept of his salvation, and yield to be saved by grace; and, in order thereunto, has sent out his gospel to call them, that they may come to the knowledge of the truth, by the faith of which only salvation can be obtained. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who, though very God, hath taken our nature into personal union with himself, and, in his glorified body, stands as the alone Mediator before the throne, to make the persons, prayers, and services of his believing people accepted: Who gave himself a ransom all, paying down the price of our redemption in the drops of his own most precious blood, and thereby making a full satisfaction to divine justice for sinners of every condition and degree, as was foretold by the prophets, and to be testified in due time to all nations. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, by a divine commission, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not, as the heart-searching God doth bear me witness), a teacher of the Gentiles, to whom especially I am sent, in faith and verity, to bring them to the true faith of Christ; and this office I labour to discharge with all simplicity and faithfulness. Note; (1.) It is God's will that we should pray for others as well as for ourselves. (2.) Our encouragement to draw near to a throne of grace is this, that we have one Mediator there, who ever liveth to make intercession for us. (3.) Since Jesus hath paid, and God hath accepted the ransom, all that perseveringly plead it, have a right to the eternal redemption thereby provided. (4.) It is an inestimable blessing to enjoy the light of the gospel, and to sit under the ministry of those who preach it in faith and verity.

3. He directs them how to pray. I will therefore that men, who bear the Christian name, pray every where; not confined to any particular place, since God is alike present in all; in the closet, in the family, as well as in the great congregation: only when we draw near to him, if we would obtain acceptance, we must be found lifting up holy hands, not polluted with allowed sin, but washed in the atoning Blood, without wrath and doubting; since harboured malice, unbelieving distrust of God, and a contentious spirit, must necessarily destroy the efficacy of prayer.

2nd, The apostle directs how women professing godliness should behave,

1. With modesty. In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. What a contrast to this description are our manners! Yet the truly gracious woman will still think modesty her brightest ornament; and when fashion imposes ought that is fantastical, extravagant, or immodest, will dare to disobey.

2. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection; not presuming to be speakers in the house of God, but hearers; for I suffer not a woman to teach in public, nor to usurp authority over the man, by that or any other instance of affected superiority; but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve, from his side (Genesis 2:21.), to denote her inferiority. And Adam was not deceived by the serpent, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression; and he, seduced by her, or out of fond affection determined to die with her, wilfully followed her example. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in child-bearing, amidst all the anguish which flows from the sentence pronounced on her (Genesis 3:16); and through that child which is born of woman, the adored Immanuel, she shall obtain everlasting salvation; if they continue in faith and charity, and holiness with sobriety, and prove themselves, and continue living members of Christ, in whom there is no difference between male or female, but both are alike called to partake of his grace and glory.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-timothy-2.html. 1801-1803.

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