Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 2:5-8

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There is one God - 1 Timothy 2:5

There is one God. In a city of many gods, and a wider culture populated with tribal deities for each group, Christian worship at Ephesus confessed, with God's covenant people across generations and cultural borders, that there is only one, true God (Deut 6:4; cf. Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:6; Gal 3:20; Eph 4:6). There is one mediator for God and man. Ancient rulers fancied themselves, "sons of god(s)" whose favor with the gods supposedly mediated material blessings to their people and protection from their enemies. Paul's confession, for use in corporate worship, identified only one man—the man Jesus Christ—as this mediator. Apart from Jewish worship, which continued to recognize an elaborate priestly system, instead of Jesus's priestly role and sacrifice, and apart from the imperial cult, which celebrated Caesar as Savior and Lord, Paul's confession drew clear lines around the uniqueness of Christian worship

Who gave himself as a ransom for all - 1 Timothy 2:6

who gave himself as a ransom for all. Paul's confession attests the historical event of Christ's crucifixion and its atoning significance for the sins of all people groups. His wording is consistent with the apostolic witness to Jesus' own testimony that he laid down his life intentionally as a sacrifice for sins (cf. Matt 20:28; Mk 10:45; Lk 22:20; Jn 1:29; 10:17-18; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 1:18-19; 2:24; 1 Jn 2:2). Christian worship is exclusive about the identity of its object, not its subjects. Only Christ's death and resurrection is effective for salvation. Therefore, he is worthy of worship. The salvation he secured is not limited to one gender, one ethnic group or any other subsection of humanity. Therefore, it is effective for all who come to worship Christ, by making this confession with Paul.

A herald and an apostle - 1 Timothy 2:7

a herald and an apostle . . . and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. Paul echoed his earlier testimony about his personal experience of God's grace (see 1:12-17 and related notes), which resulted in Christ's commission to send Paul as his representative to show-and-tell this good news to all nations. As an apostle, Paul was 'sent' under Christ's authority to represent the interests of his kingdom (see note 1:1). As a herald, he was authorized to communicate an official message from the king. As a teacher, Paul cultivated relationships and learning communities by personal example (see note 1:16) to enact the values and policies of Christ's kingdom (cf. 2 Tim 1:11). This repeated emphasis, along with Paul's unusual avowal—'I am telling the truth'—strongly indicates that false teachers in the Ephesian church questioned Paul's apostolic credentials and disputed his teaching of the true faith (cf. Acts 20:17-35; 1 Tim 4:1-5).

Men Should Pray, Not Dispute the Elders' Teaching in Corporate Worship - 1 Timothy 2:8

Having addressed the whole congregation about the focus and content of their prayers in 2:1-7, Paul specifically addressed the men in 2:8, then the women in 2:9-15a. He returned to address both in 2:13b, and followed the same alternating pattern in 3:1-13. Instead of submitting themselves to the elders (see note 3:1-7), the authorized teachers of the congregation, false, would-be teachers of the law (see note 1:7) disputed them, even in corporate worship. Paul and Timothy confronted these men by commanding them to refrain from their angry arguments, and to limit their speech to prayers and praise. In 2 Tim 2:23-26, Paul laid out a pattern of attitudes, practices and content for Christian teachers.

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