Sunday, February 22, 2015

Paul's Letters to Timothy - Session - 3 - Chapter 2 Instructions on Worship and Barriers to Renewal

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is studying Paul's pastoral Epistles (Letters) to his protege, Timothy.  These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments in the comments below. We welcome your thoughts and prayers.


Last week as we continued our study of 1 Timothy Chapter 1 we discussed Paul’s testimony that before his Damascus Road experience with Jesus that he was like those false teachers in Ephesus that he told Timothy he needed to stop.

1 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

He believed that he served God by doing this. He did not know that what he was doing was wrong. Then on the way to Damascus Lord Jesus Christ showed mercy to him. And he forgave Paul for all that he had done and he could do the same even for those false teachers.

What Paul received from Jesus that day was the love of God into his life, so he was able to love the Lord as well. He once hated the Christians but now he loved them. What Timothy was to teach was love and how to cause that love to grow. What the false teachers were teaching was causing confusion rather than love.

1 Timothy 1:5 (HCSB) Now the goal of our instruction is love ⌊that comes⌋ from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Today's Study of Chapter 2

Today before we start into chapter 2 which is a chapter on worship and how men and women should interact with each other in worship let’s finish up chapter 1 by reading;

1 Timothy 1:18-20 (NKJV)18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul here is telling Timothy what he has to do which is to stop the false teachers and teach the truth and that is to have faith and a good conscience.  We talked about that last week.

We don't have an account of the prophecies that Paul was talking about but we can be pretty sure that God wanted Timothy to be and to do and what Paul is telling him.  Paul is agreeing with those prophecies and he encouraged Timothy to be strong.

Paul is eager that Timothy should continue to trust God. He wants Timothy to have a good conscience. To fight a good fight, faith and a clear conscience, are essential.

If you don't act as your conscience directs you it has a damaging effect on your faith in God. Then your life is like a ship that hits the rocks and sinks.

Paul gives an example of two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander. Haymenaeus is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:17

2 Timothy 2:16-18 (NKJV)16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

Alexander may be the coopersmith mentioned in 2 Timothy

2 Timothy 4:14 (NKJV) Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.

Now let’s go on into chapter 2 of 1 Timothy.

But first do you ever have difficulty approaching God in prayer? 

The Christians in Ephesus did. The barriers to prayer described here are anger, an over-emphasis on appearance, and an inappropriate role for women. Having sized up the situation and reminded Timothy of his mission, Paul outlines first steps to dealing with the needs of the church.

1. The first century, like the twentieth, was loaded with religions. If you were asked why you believe Jesus Christ is the only way, what would you say?

We did not invent the claim of Jesus being the only way. This is not our claim; it is His. We are merely relating His claim, and the claim of the writers of the New Testament.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6, NASB) and, “For unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24, NASB). The apostle Peter echoed these words, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, KJV).

Paul agreed, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… . ”(I Timothy 2:5, KJV). It is therefore the united testimony of the New Testament that no one can know God the Father except through the person of Jesus Christ.

2. What's the first thing Timothy should lead the Christians to do (1 Tim. 2:1-2)?

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (HCSB)1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

To pray!

He is talking here about public prayer remember Paul is writing Timothy and instructing him about worship in the church. There are 4 words that Paul uses for prayer they are in the King James supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanks.

Supplications means to make requests to God to meet needs. We see the needs of people. We should pray for them.

Prayers the usual word that we use when we bring to God all the things that trouble us. And then we ask him to guide us. We ask God to help us to know what is right. And we ask him to help us to know what we should do. We ask God for his general blessing and care for the people.

Intersessions We are like the agents on behalf of other people and come to God with an appeal on their behalf. We ask God to help and bless them.

Thanks We must always thank God. We thank him for all people. We thank him for all that he has done.

Who, specifically, are they/we to pray for?

They were to pray for everyone but specifically for those in authority so that we (the church, believers) could live a quiet life and worship is peace and safety.

At that time, it would have been for the emperor in Rome and all the minor rulers. The emperor was Nero, who was a very cruel man. Christians should pray for all those who govern them. They should pray for them, whether they are good or bad.

What the rulers do and say will affect the lives of all the people. The purpose in praying for them is that they will rule well. The prayer is that all that they do will be for the good of the people.

The Christians should pray that the rulers would allow them to live in peace. The reason for this desire is so that they can be free to worship and serve God. They want to be able to live good and honest lives. They want to be at peace with all the people. They want to be able to share what they believe with other people.

Plus God wants to save all sorts of people, including those who lead.   He wants them to come to know the truth. The truth of God will deliver them from all error.

3. Find all the times Paul says "all" and "everyone" (1 Tim. 2:1-6). What does the use of these terms communicate about God?

1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NKJV)1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

This prayer is acceptable to God because it is a prayer for all men and those in authority, so that the Church may witness effectively. God wants that through this witness of the church all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

4. Why do you think Paul emphasizes the word one in 1 Tim. 2:5?

1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

People may believe in many gods but there is only one real God. Many believe that there is only one God. But they do not know him. People can only know God by coming to him through  Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is God. And he came to show us what God was like. He became a man so that he could take us to God.

This is what it says in the Wycliffe Bible Commentary about verse 5;

An earlier verse (1:1) spoke of "God our Saviour." (1 Timothy 1:1 (NKJV)1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, )

Here Paul uses the terse formula, "One there is who is God; One also there is who is mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus." In Mt 19:17 the order of words and thought is the same. (Matthew 19:17 (NKJV)17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." )

"One there is who is good" (asv). The predicating of the good, and God, and mediator is exclusive and can be said of only one. Here is the sharpest and most unequivocal assertion of the deity and humanity of Christ. It is also involved in the idea of the one true and perfect mediator that he must be God (Hebrews 12:24 (NKJV)24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.   This one gave himself a substitute-ransom for all.

The point being made here is that the Mediator (Jesus) and God are one.

5. This entire chapter (1 Tim. 2) deals with worship. The church in Ephesus was probably a network of house churches. Their worship may have been patterned after the Jewish synagogues which separated men and women. What problem hindered the worship by men (1 Tim. 2:8) and by women 1 Tim 2:9 ?

1 Timothy 2:8 (NKJV) I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NKJV) 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
Men and Women in Worship

How are men and women to behave and relate to one another in the church? This question and this particular passage have been on the minds of many in recent times. There are many today that believe that women should not be leaders in the church and certainly not teach or preach and they use these verses here and other places as evidence. But remember that here Paul is writing Timothy about worship in Ephesus. The other major reference that people point to is in Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (HCSB) 2  Now I praise you because you always remember me and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3  But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4  Every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head. 5  But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved. 6  So if a woman’s head is not covered, her hair should be cut off. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should be covered. 7  A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God’s image and glory, but woman is man’s glory. 8  For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9  And man was not created for woman, but woman for man. 10  This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11  In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. 12  For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God. 13  Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14  Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him, 15  but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her as a covering.
16  But if anyone wants to argue about this, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.

1 Corinthians 14:33-36 (HCSB) 33  since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34  the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. 35  And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting. 36  Did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only?

 Specific circumstances required Paul to answer the question asked above in specific ways. The concern here will not be to generalize those specifics but rather to set out the issues that Paul addressed and those that we must consider in the church today.

When Paul instructed men and women (some think husbands and wives were specifically in view) in his churches (the immediate problem was disturbances in the worship service. On the one hand, changing attitudes about the man-woman relationship led women to assert themselves in the worship service in ways that threatened unity and perhaps also reflected a disregard for biblical and cultural distinctions between men and women. Disruptions by women included inquiring about the meaning of prophecies  and teaching men (1 Tim 2:11-12). But the present passage also reveals that the anger and arguments of some men were contributing to the disruption of the church's worship service.

The Appropriate Demeanor of Men (2:8)

First, prayer that is acceptable must come from holy, purified hearts. The physical lifting of hands was important in the Jewish act of prayer. But the purity of the hands, originally a physical prerequisite to be fulfilled before one approached God came to be symbolic of the condition of the heart. 

Exodus 30:19-21 (HCSB) 19  Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet from the basin.
20  Whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister by burning up an offering to the LORD, they must wash with water so that they will not die. 21  They must wash their hands and feet so that they will not die; this is to be a permanent statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.” 

The early church understood such purity to be a condition of acceptable prayer 

James 4:8 (HCSB) 8  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!  When we pray, our communication is with a holy God. He requires of us that we deal with our sins before making our approach.

Second, prayer that is acceptable must come from people in right relationship with one another. So Paul adds the stipulation that our prayer be without anger or disputing.

Because difficulties in our relationship with God or in our relationship with fellow believers can hinder our prayer.  The dissention and arguments are probably a result of the false teachers whose instructions cause confusion because they are not based on love but on the law, genealogies, and myths.  

1 Timothy 1:6-7 (HCSB) 6  Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion.
7  They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on. 

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (HCSB) 3  If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, 4  he is conceited, understanding nothing, but has a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, 5  and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.  

The Appropriate Demeanor of Women (2:9-15)

One source of the disruption being caused by women was their dress. Paul addresses this by drawing from the church's accepted teaching about the adornment of women 

1 Peter 3:3-5 (HCSB) 3  Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. 4  Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.
5  For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands,  

 He prescribes a manner of dress with three very similar terms stressing modesty and discretion (NIV modestly, with decency and propriety). His intention being to discourage women from dressing in a way that would distract men in the worship service.  Here's another thought, perhaps there was a problem of  insensitive women flaunting their dress, jewelry and hairstyles in a way that hurt the feelings of the poor and disturbed the church. The kinds of adornment mentioned (braided hair . . . gold . . . pearls . . . expensive clothes) all belonged to that culture's critical caricature of wealthy women.

Today do we, women and men sometimes dress to impress when coming to church and especially if we are going to a big church event.  Some of the dress and accessories, if we are honest, are distracting or designed to attract attention.  These things can be disruptive to the worship experience.

Paul, I don't believe, is saying here that you should not dress as your ability resources allow you to dress but to not dress in a manner where the dress will call attention to you.  When we worship our attention should be directed to Jesus and not to individuals.

6. Worship in the ancient world was a highly ritualized performance. From these verses, what do you think Paul considers to be crucial to worship?

First, prayer that is acceptable must come from holy, purified hearts.

Second, prayer that is acceptable must come from people in right relationship with one another.

Simply put, difficulties in our relationship with God or in our relationship with fellow believers can hinder our prayer.

7. How does this fit with Timothy's mission ?

1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 

That is where are attention should be directed not to disputes and dissensions or to dress or appearance.

8. In 1 Tim. 2:11-12, Paul forbids women to teach men. But in 1 Cor. 11:5, he tells them how to dress when they preach (or prophesy). How do you reconcile these texts?

1 Timothy 2:11-12 (NKJV)11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

Corinthians 11:5 (NKJV)  But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

A question bearing on the interpretation of the Timothy passage is the degree to which Paul is countering effects of the false teaching. Two views should be introduced briefly.

Paul actually encourages women to learn, which sets him apart from his contemporaries in Judaism. But it is the manner in which they learn that will settle the disturbances they have been causing in the church: in quietness and full submission. Paul does not mean that women are to be absolutely silent during the service

Corinthians 11:5 (NKJV)  But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 

Rather, he instructs them to exhibit quietness (in spirit) instead of taking the lead, or to "be silent" in the sense of not teaching. Even as learners, perhaps, they are to refrain from entering into public discussions about interpretation of the Old Testament and prophecies

1 Corinthians 14:33-34 (HCSB) 33  since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34  the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.
Full submission is the more general description of the appropriate demeanor of the woman learner. It seems clear from this passage that to be in full submission meant for those women to refrain from teaching (men) and probably also to dress in appropriate ways. Certain questions, however, continue to be asked: Is this a universal or temporary rule? Does the teaching here need to be understood as an exception to the principle of Galatians 3:28, necessitated by the imprudent actions of some women? 

Galatians 3:28 (HCSB) 28  There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Thus verses 11-12 aim to restore peace in the worship service by placing certain limits on the role of women. Probably as a result of the influence of the false teaching, some women had assumed the role of teacher. This step led Paul to invoke a subordination rule; it seems to have precluded women from teaching men, since to do so constituted authenteo--that is, the wrongful appropriation of authority over men.

9. How do you understand Paul's summary statement in 1 Tim. 2:15?

1 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

But what does saved through childbearing mean?

After the fall into sin, God told Eve that she would be in pain as she gave birth to children. Eve is the subject of the first part of this verse. She had sinned but God gave the promise of salvation. He would send the Christ (Messiah) to be born of a woman. So, through the birth of Jesus to Mary, God kept his promise. God will save women if they continue to trust in him and love him. They should be pure, holy and modest.

This verse does not mean that having children is the method by which God will save women. That would make their salvation to depend on their works. But salvation comes by the gift of God and we receive it by faith. God will not save women because they give birth to children. He saves them as they repent and believe the *gospel.

Next week Chapter 3

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