- The Explore the Bible lesson for June 9 focuses on 1 Timothy 2:1-15.
I love how The Message Bible titles 1 Timothy 2 as “Simple Faith and Plain Truth.” If we all were to accept the word of God as simple faith (trusting and believing in Jesus wholeheartedly and with everything in us—mind, body and soul) and plain truth (the word, standard and guide that settle all matters concerning us), what great rest we could reside in.
This world tends to inhibit the simple and straightforward message of salvation, deliverance and rest in God. Further, when those messages of faith are shared, there is a strong tendency for obstacles to come as a deterrence to living out the messages we have heard and believe.
The plain truth is the Bible holds the standard of living, and we are to abide by it. It is our guide in this world and the final word. So, why do we—even believers—quickly look elsewhere for love, acceptance, guidance, answers and wisdom?
It is the subtlety of this world to keep us off focus, distracted and confused. It is a trick of the enemy to deter us from the plain truth of God’s word to quick expressions from the world that leave our spirits burdened versus renewed and our souls cast down versus prosperous.
In 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul, with simple faith and plain truth, provide instructions on worship. Instructions are valuable if we are to represent God well in this world, and they are critical to the success of any mission.
Praying as a form of worship (1 Timothy 2:1-8)
Worship is showing reverence and honor to God. Praying is one way to worship God. Praying for our leaders is one way to please God. Throughout the Bible, we are admonished to pray (2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:12, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We could say it is our duty as Christians. If our leaders and all people in general are to be saved and live godly lives, it will be so because Christians are praying.
God delights in the opportunity to redeem his people because of our belief in Jesus and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2:4). This will happen because Christians are praying.
We are worshiping God with our prayers and serving God’s people, our fellow sisters and brothers, by interceding on their behalf. We intercede (pray for others) to the one true and living God, and we approach God through his son Jesus Christ. As believers in Jesus Christ, it is a foundational belief of Christians that there is only one true and living God.
Further, we believe that the man Christ Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all people” (2:6). Yet, Jesus is not just another man; he is God himself. Christ also is our mediator. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we all have access to God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
Paul informs Timothy of his appointment as an apostle—“a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles” (2:7). Getting the good news of Jesus to all who have not heard it is Paul’s appointed work.
Praying with our hands and hearts lifted to God (Paul places emphasis especially on men to pray in this manner) positions us to be grateful and appreciative rather than angry and argumentative. Rather than seeing our hands lifted as the proper position for praying, it is most important that our hearts are yielded to God and we come to him in the most humble and holy way we know. Men are to set the example that church is a sacred place of worship—praying and praising God. In his Life Principles Bible, Charles Stanley notes, “We stand tallest and strongest on our knees.”
Instruction for women (1 Timothy 2:9-15)
As a woman, I always have approached these Scriptures and set of instructions with a need to read a second and often a third time. Yet, when I view the instructions as God’s plain truth, I see Paul sharing with Timothy to (1) ensure women are mindful of their image, in dress and deeds, as worshipers of the most high God; (2) ensure women are mindful of the power in quietness and submission, because this quiet power was good for women of the early church, and in many ways it is good for us present-day women and men; (3) make sure women are mindful of God’s order. God formed man then woman. Although woman sinned first, man was close behind her. We, men and women are equally created in the image of God, yet we have different roles. While men have a leading role in church, current women—as well as women of Bible days—play a crucial role in spreading the gospel.
Praise God for his promise to save women: “Women will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (2:15). If men and women are to be found in the last days doing something beautiful for God, it behooves us to pay close attention to his instructions.
Prayer: Lord, help us to heed your instructions. Help us to worship you in prayer and in how we present ourselves as Christian men and women. We are grateful, Lord, for the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Now help us to worship you properly and represent you well in this world. Amen.
Lisa M. Rainey, PhD., is a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.