18 Oct. 1 Timothy 2:1-15

18 Oct. Paul's suggestions for running a church

"First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God."

"This is good, and it pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth."

"There is one God and one way human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human. He gave himself as a payment to free [redeem] all people. He is proof that came at the right time."

"That is why I was chosen to tell the Good News and to be an apostle... I was chosen to teach those who are not Jews to believe and to know the truth."

"So I want men everywhere to pray, lifting up their hands [towards heaven] in a holy manner, without anger and arguments."

"Also, women should wear proper clothes that show respect and self-control, not using plaited hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes. Instead, they should do good deeds, which is right for women who say they worship God."

"Let a woman learn by listening quietly and being ready to co-operate in everything. But I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to listen quietly, because Adam was formed first and then Eve."

"And Adam was not tricked, but the woman was tricked and became a sinner. But she will be saved by having children if they continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control.

          (1 Timothy 2:1-15)

 

 

Paul wrote to Timothy between 63 and 66 AD shortly after leaving him in Ephesus to take charge of the church there (see 1 Timothy 1:3). In his letter, he advises his young co-worker how to conduct meetings for worship and prayer (which would have taken place in the believers' homes).

It's interesting to see how these ideas are similar to, or different from, the way in which we conduct church services today.

Paul begins by suggesting that the believers pray. He starts with intercessory prayers for the needs of others, and includes thanksgiving for blessings received from God. He then suggests prayers for those in authority, asking that they respect God's laws and seek peace and prosperity for all people, rich or poor, young or old, healthy or ill.

Paul then suggests that in church gatherings, men should agree with each other, and should pray with their hands lifted up to heaven to show their willingness to receive God's blessings.

He suggests that women should dress modestly rather than extravagantly and should not try to dominate the men. He points out that they will gain favour with God by bringing up their children so "they continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control." (1 Timothy 2:15) This is still excellent advice, though today, Paul may well have extended his suggestion to fathers too.

Paul was, of course, writing in the context of a Roman society where women were largely uneducated, and which was very male-dominated; while two thousand years later, many women are not only highly educated, but often hold responsible jobs managing teams of men and women.

Society has moved on towards more equal treatment of men and women, and as with all advice given in the Bible, we should be keenly aware of the context in which it was given before we judge whether it is appropriate today.

In the middle of this discussion, Paul explains to Timothy the doctrine of 'redemption': "There is one God and one way human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human. He gave himself as a payment to free [redeem] all people." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

In Paul's day, slavery was commonplace, and even impoverished Jews sold themselves (or their children) into slavery (see Leviticus 25:39-43). But relatives could free their family from slavery by buying back their freedom and 'redeeming' them from slavery (see Leviticus 25:47-55).

Paul explains that Jesus's death is like this in many respects. We were "slaves to sin", but God bought us back from slavery into his own family by paying the price that freedom cost - Jesus's death on the cross. We were 'redeemed' from slavery to sin by the 'redemption' of Christ's blood.

The photo shows the remains of the 6th century St John's Church in Ephesus, from where Paul wrote his First Letter to Timothy.

You can read more of the letter @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/worship-among-the-believ…/


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