Study Notes

1Timothy 2:1-8


Paul has been telling Timothy that in order to fight the good fight, you must keep faith and a good conscience. Now he is going to give a first example of how we can practically keep faith and a good conscience.

2:1-2 Entreaties

To keep faith and a good conscience, we've got to be praying. But prayer can tend to be a generic term. Sure, it's talking to God, but we can talk in many ways and about many things. That's why Paul gets specific here. He says,

1Tim. 2:1 ...entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings...

Each of these things are unique, and deserve our attention.

The word "entreaties" is "DEH-ay-sis." It has to do with expressing a need, or a want. It involves asking for, seeking after, even begging. Examples of this type of prayer are found in places like Romans 10:1, when Paul spoke of entreating the Lord for the Jews' salvation, and Luke 1:13, when Zacharias had been begging the Lord for a child because his wife Elizabeth was barren.

So, entreaties are prayers to God for what you do not - or someone else does not - have.


The next word is "prayers," the Greek word "pros-yoo-KHAY." It involves a worshipful, reverent talking to God.


The word for "petitions" is "ENT-yook-sis." It is only used two times in the whole New Testament, both being in this epistle. It means "to fall in with." It involves a familiar conversation, sort of a "having a chat while we're cruising along" sort of thing.


Fourthly, Paul lists thanksgivings. This, too, is an essential part of our prayer life. As the book of Ephesians says,

Eph. 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...

So we've seen four aspects of prayer. Four shapes that our prayers need to take. Four facets of a full prayer life. Do you pray in this manner? Maybe you're always making entreaties: asking for what is needed. That's great - but are you also giving thanks for what you have? Maybe you're always praying - speaking reverently to God. That's great - but do you also have that familiar intimacy with Him as your friend? Let us make sure that our prayer lives are complete with these four things.

All Men

We've been instructed in the "what," but let us not forget the "who." These prayers are to be made on behalf of all men. Do you pray for yourself more than others? And the others that you pray for - are they your close friends? Your family? Do you pray for all men? Do you pray for the guy in the ambulance as it speeds by you? Do you pray for the guy at work next to you? Do you pray for the victims of disasters that are in the news in front of you?


Now Paul gets specific. It's not just all men we are to pray for, but authorities. That means politicians and presidents. Managers and dictators. Landlords and cops. There's something in our sinful nature that rebels against authority. We resent it, we rebel against it. And even if we do submit to it, we're not happy about it and certainly not going to pray for it.

The authority over us is never as godly as we know it should be. Never as wise as we are. Never making the right decisions like we know that we would. But I'd like to point something out. The first time that authority is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 16.

Abraham has made a mistake by trying to fulfill God's promise in the flesh. He has had a child with his wife's servant Hagar. Sarai began to treat Hagar harshly, terribly. Hagar ran away, fleeing into the wilderness.

Gen. 16:7-8 Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from and where are you going?" And she said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai."

If we were the angel, most of us would say, "I feel for you. I understand that you just couldn't take it. I'm sure you're doing the right thing. I would have left too." But that's not what he said.

Gen. 16:9 Then the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority."

God's plan is that we submit to authority - even when it is unbearably difficult. "Well, what if the president is an ungodly unbeliever?" Submit to his authority. "What if my husband makes stupid decisions?" Submit to his authority. "What if my teacher gives me too much homework?" Submit to her authority.

When we don't submit to the authority over us, we are bringing judgment down on our heads. The book of Romans says very clearly,

Rom. 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Remember, that when Paul was writing these things, there was not a single Christian ruler in the entire world! The Roman government that he was in subjection to was killing Christians who refused to say, "Caesar is Supreme Lord."

Even when the authority is wicked, you know what Jesus taught:

Luke 6:27-28 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

Are you praying for the authorities in your life? Do you pray for our president, our governor, our mayor? Do you pray for your boss at work? Your husband at home? Your pastor at church? Are you asking God to meet their needs, to provide for them? To bless them?

Tranquil And Quiet Life In All Godliness And Dignity

God's desire for our lives is tranquility, quietness, godliness, and dignity. But what does that have to do with praying for people over us in authority?

This is explained in the rest of Romans 13.

Rom. 13:3-7 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for {rulers} are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax {is due;} custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

When Christians live quiet, godly lives, praying for their leaders, and righteously being subject to them, they have nothing to fear under God.

But when Christians rebel against that authority, they cause their government to become suspicious of them. Shortly after the David Koresh incident happened in Waco, Texas, an e-mail started circulating around the internet. It was a supposed quote from Attorney General Janet Reno on 60 Minutes saying, "A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who homeschools their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify a person as a cultist but certainly more than one of these would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government interference."

This quote is patently false. Janet Reno has never said anything remotely similar to this. I don't know what the person's motivation was for creating this lie, but how do you think the government looks at Christians because of it? That Christians will knowingly lie to make their point. That they are hysterical enough and stupid enough to believe anything, and that makes them dangerous to the government.

If the government looks and sees Christians that live quiet, righteous, godly, tranquil lives, that submit to authority and pray for their leaders, it says, "great, no big deal."

But when the government looks and sees Christians hole up in a compound in Waco, Texas with guns and ammunition, threatening the government that they'd better not try anything, or people will die... when they see Christians bombing abortion clinics and shooting abortionists... When they see Christians protesting in Laramie, Wyoming with hateful signs about how all homosexuals will burn in hell... when they read false reports like the Janet Reno quote... when they see that we're not submitting to authority, but doing all that we can to subvert it, then that makes the government distrustful of Christians. And that's when we suffer.

2:3-4 Saved, Knowledge Of The Truth

God wants everybody to be saved. He's...

2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

God desires that Sadaam Hussein would hear the gospel and be saved. God desires that President Clinton would repent of his sin and embrace a biblical Christianity. God desires that your boss, your teacher, and your husband would be born again and saved from hell. But if you're not praying for these folks, then who is? If you're not taking the personal responsibility of interceding for them, then who do you think is going to?

If they've bought into the lie of the devil, it's because they haven't come to the knowledge of the truth. They've been deceived. Don't be angry at them. Love on them. Pray for them. Share with them.

How did you become a Christian? For most of us, it was because a believer loved us when we were unlovable. Because they shared with us, even though we'd made ourselves unapproachable. It was because even though we were unrighteous, ungodly, unbelievers, someone prayed for us, loved us, and shared the gospel with us.

God wants us to hear and believe the truth. Jesus said,

John 8:31-32 ..."If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

You cannot know the truth apart from knowing Jesus Christ personally.

2:5-8 The Mediator Jesus Christ

The only way to get to God is through Jesus. He said,

John 14:6 ..."I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

He is the bridge, the mediator, by which we approach God. We can't get to him on our own, because we are dirty and sinful.

Rom. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

We cannot come to God based on our own good deeds, because,

Isa. 64:6 ...All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...

And that leaves us doomed to die in our sins .

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The free gift of God. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the death penalty for our sin. By His dying on the cross, He bridged the gap between us and God. His death was the ransom for we who were held captive by sin.

Maybe today, you're still held captive to sin. You're separated from God because you've never received the ransom that Jesus Christ paid to save you. Accept His free gift today.

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