Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 2:15-3:13

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Saved through childbearing - 1 Timothy 2:15

Husbands and Wives Should Relate to One Another in Faith, Love and Holiness. Paul is continuing his reading of Genesis. He referred first to Adam (2:13), then to Eve (2:14), and here (2:15) to the result of their physical and spiritual union. She will be saved through bearing children. The Greek word, sōzō, has a range of meaning—to save, heal or deliver safely'—which illustrates the holistic character of salvation. In the context of childbirth, however, some commentators have emphasized mere physical safety. Artemis, the great goddess of Ephesus, protected women during childbirth. But, she did so in exchange for their religious devotion. Repeatedly, Paul used the word, sōzō, in 1 Tim 1:15, 2:4, and 4:16 to describe redemption from sin, which is the meaning here in relation to Eve's deception and transgression (2:14). Paul described the next sequence in the narrative of Gen 2:5-4:1, that signifies Adam's and Eve's redemption after the fall, the birth of their first child (cf. Gen 3:15, 20; 4:1). If they continue. The important shift from singular to plural between the two verbs in v15 has perplexed readers. Is Paul drawing an analogy between Eve and the women at Ephesus, then, with all women? More likely, 'they' refers to Adam and Eve, since Paul has been re-telling their story. This analogy teaches that the salvation of men and women depends on their fidelity and love in covenantal interdependency with God and each other. 'They' must 'continue' in the covenant established by Jesus, the seed of the woman, who shall crush the serpent's head (cf. Gen 3:15).

Church Leadership - 1 Timothy 3:1-13

God's Household Must Select Leaders, who Manage Their Own Households Well. In addition to renewed corporate worship, the church at Ephesus needed exemplary leaders to cultivate its identity as God's household, and its vocation as "the pillar and support of the truth." Instead of writing a job description of duties, Paul provided lists of character qualities to identify these leaders, whose positive qualities contrasted with the negative qualities that marked the false teachers. In other passages, Paul made clear that these qualities should characterize all Christians (cf. Rom 12:9-21; Eph 4:17-5:21; Col 3:5-17). But, elders and deacons are to be examples of Christian character, known and proven by their faithfulness to manage their own household relationships and material goods with love and equity.

Select Men of Exemplary Christian Character as Elders. - 1 Timothy 3:1-7

The Greek word, episkopos, is functionally descriptive, meaning supervisor or overseer. Near the end of the 2nd century, this term came to be used for the bishop, who supervised leaders from all the churches in a city or region. But, at the time of Paul's writing to the Philippians (Phil 1:1), Timothy and Titus (Tit 1:5-7), episkopos was used interchangeably with presbeyteros or elder (cf. Acts 20:17, 28) to identify mature men of proven character, who managed their relationships lovingly and distributed their household goods equitably. Paul avoided the terms 'ruler' (archōn) or 'master' (kurios), choosing more familial terms, 'elder' and 'servant,' for leadership in God's household.

If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer - 1 Timothy 3:1

This saying is trustworthy. See note on 1:15. This is the second instance of this reinforcing phrase designed to elicit closer attention from listeners to what immediately follows. He desires a good work. False teachers at Ephesus were bringing reproach on the church and on its leaders, undermining the dignity of this crucial role. As indicated by the same root here (kalos) and in 5:17 (kalōs), Paul underscored that those who desire this role and do it 'well' are worthy of double-honor.

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