1 TIMOTHY 2
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1 I exhort therefore, that, FIRST OF ALL, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN;
Is that our attitude toward the world? -- true concern for them, and CONSTANT prayer? There is a danger that we tend to be too self-centered and narrow in our interests and affections, ignorant of, and ignoring, other people's needs and sorrows, wrapped up in our "specially-chosen" selves and writing off the world as hopeless.
"God will have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth."
This must be OUR concern, too, if we are His true children, and not hypocrites. It is so easy to self-righteously attend our own comfortable little meetings, and then spend the rest of our time on our own selfish, temporal interests and welfare.
We must get out of ourselves and keep before our minds the broad world picture: God is concerned with the world, and is working with the world.
The true children of God have no time for any personal non-essentials. Their hearts and minds and lives are FILLED with serving God and helping their fellowmen.
Paul does not just say "prayers" for all men, and pass on, but he stops to emphasize and elaborate --
"Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks."
There is no sharp distinction of meaning between the first three, but clearly Paul is strongly stressing the range, and depth, and importance of the command. It is not just a cursory and passing mention in our own otherwise self-centered prayers as a select little group.
Our prayers for all men must be real, and earnest, and sustained, and run the whole range of "supplication" and "intercession" and "giving of thanks."
And why "giving of thanks" for all men? What does that mean? What is there to be thankful about in relation to "all men?"
It means we must, like the prophets of old, and above all, like Jesus himself, identify ourselves with the sorrows and burdens and problems of mankind, praying for them and thanking God on their behalf for the unappreciated blessings He pours on all alike, in the hope that for our sakes mercy and blessing may be extended more widely.
This matter of prayer is something very real and very important. Prayer is perhaps the strongest and most marvelous of all God's provisions. It is a way whereby a man can extend his influence for good far beyond his natural powers -- without limit -- into eternal things.
We are constantly told in the Scriptures of the power and importance of prayer.
God has given us a tremendous instrument for good -- for the good of man. Are we using it to the fullest -- or are we too wrapped up in our own selfish unimportances?
Truly there is much to be learned from the Scripture, if we are to be accepted of God.
Of course, our primary and overwhelming concern for mankind is their eternal salvation; but present, temporal help and good is still an important aspect of the work of the Truth.
And prayer. Always prayer. The heart-felt, heart-rent supplication for the pitiful, purposeless miseries of God-ignorant mankind, vainly seeking a self-made peace and a non-existent, impossible happiness, tragically destroying themselves with their own blind "wisdom." *
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Jesus as a Man
The second count charges me with regarding Jesus as a man. To this I plead "guilty." But in pleading thus I do not affirm that he is "a mere man." I reject the idea of his being the son of Joseph in any other sense than by adoption.
He was Son of God by creation as was Adam the First; and therefore he is styled Adam the Second. Luke styles Adam "Son of God," and as to the origin of the "prepared body," it was Son of God in the same sense. Jesus was also Son of God in a sense in which Adam was not; and that is by resurrection from the dead, as it is written,
"Thou art my Son: to-day have I begotten thee."
I believe with Paul in the manhood of Jesus; for that apostle styles him "the man Christ Jesus;" and he styled himself the Son of Man, being "made of a woman, under the law," and therefore of necessity a man.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1854
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
SO with the incense, which is "the prayer of saints" (Revelation 5:8; 8:4). It is a daily obligation: a daily benefit -- a pleasure of God and an advantage to His people.
I have known men argue against its necessity. They say, "God knows, without being told". This is true, but is not a good reason for the neglect of prayer, in view of the great help it is to us in gendering the habit of expansion of mind towards God, in view of the pleasure it affords to God, and in view of its inculcation by this Mosaic lesson. "The Lord taketh not pleasure in fools". "He taketh pleasure in the righteous". "The prayer of the righteous is his delight".
All these things are testified; and it was shown in unmistakable parable when the high priest every morning put sweet-smelling incense in his censer on the fire taken from the altar, and waved his censer before the Lord in the holy place.
The Law of Moses, Ch 20.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
She will appreciate a due attention to health and cleanliness in their attire, but she will teach them, as she has come to be instructed herself, that the vanities and follies attendant upon gay dressing are forms of the evil which everywhere prevails; and that though beautiful and attractive to the youthful eye, they are to be eschewed as something calculated to engender forgetfulness of God and the coming of Christ for which we are all preparing.
- Sis Jane Roberts - The Virtuous woman 'the dressing of children'
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The law, which forms a part of the foundation of the world, says to the woman, "He shall reign over thee." The nature of this subjection is well exhibited in the Mosaic law Num 30:3-15. A daughter being yet in her youth in her father's house, could only make a vow subject to his will. If he held his peace, and said nothing for or against, she was bound by her word; but if when he heard it, he disallowed it, she was not bound to perform, and the Lord forgave the failure of the vow.
The same law applied to a wife. A widow, or divorced woman, were both bound to fulfil, unless their husbands had made them void before separation. If not, being subject to God, they had no release. This throws light upon the apostle's instructions concerning women. "They are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." And "Iet the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
The reason he gives for imposing silence and subjection is remarkable. He adduces the priority of Adam's formation, and the unhappy consequences of Eve's talkativeness and leadership in transgression; as it is written, "Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression first" 1 Tim 2:11-14. And then, as to their public ministrations, he says,
"Let women keep silence in the congregations; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but to be under obedience, as saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the congregation" 1 Cor 14:34-35.
- ELPIS ISRAEL 1.4.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
9-15 concerns the position of sisters. Two points are strongly emphasized. First, modesty and reserve in dress and deportment, with inner rather than surface ornamentation. Secondly, silence in the ecclesia.
Men and women are very different in many ways. The modern world, in its godless stupidity, ignores this divinely attested fact. Each sex has its own special weakness and its own strengths. Each has its own special place and function in the Body of Christ.
To the extent a sister overstepped either of these divine instructions, to that extent she cheapens herself and lessens her true spiritual usefulness in the Body.
It is always wisdom to make sure we are well over on the safe side of any command -- to try to realize and conform to its spiritual purpose and value.
These are not merely arbitrary and restrictive commands. Rather they are to make sisters more fitted and more suited to the fulfillment of their own very real and very necessary part in the welfare and activity of the Body.
Sisters are freed from many things that burden brethren, that they may be better suited to accomplish other things as important, or more important, in God's sight. *
* Bro Growcott. Grace, Mercy and Peace