The First to Timothy 2:1-15

2  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made concerning all sorts of men,  concerning kings and all those who are in high positions,+ so that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with complete godly devotion and seriousness.+  This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God,+  whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved+ and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.  For there is one God,+ and one mediator+ between God and men,+ a man, Christ Jesus,+  who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all+—this is what is to be witnessed to in its own due time.  For the purpose of this witness+ I was appointed a preacher and an apostle+—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—a teacher of nations+ in the matter of faith and truth.  So I desire that in every place the men carry on prayer, lifting up loyal hands,+ without anger+ and debates.+  Likewise, the women should adorn themselves in appropriate dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive clothing,+ 10  but in the way that is proper for women professing devotion to God,+ namely, through good works. 11  Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness.+ 12  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent.*+ 13  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.+ 14  Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived+ and became a transgressor. 15  However, she will be kept safe through childbearing,+ provided she* continues in faith and love and holiness along with soundness of mind.+

Footnotes

Or “remain calm; remain quiet.”
Lit., “they.”

Study Notes

supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving: Paul here stresses the importance of prayer by using a number of terms with similar meanings. (See study note on Php 4:6.) In this context, the word “intercessions” apparently refers to petitions made to God for the benefit of others. The Bible mentions such intercessions; for example, Moses interceded in behalf of Miriam and the people of Israel. (Nu 12:10-13; 21:7) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, servants of God are likewise encouraged to pray for others. (2Co 1:11; 2Th 3:1; Heb 13:18, 19; Jas 5:14-18) As for the term “thanksgiving,” Paul repeatedly urged Christians to express their gratitude in prayer.​—2Co 4:15; Col 2:7; 4:2.

all those who are in high positions: Or “all those who are in positions of authority.” This expression refers to various government authorities and officials. (See study note on Ro 13:1.) The word kings in this verse included local rulers as well as the Roman emperor. At the time of Paul’s writing to Timothy (c. 61-64 C.E.), that emperor was Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 C.E.

so that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life: Here Paul gives a reason why Christians should pray concerning high government authorities. In answer to such prayers, God may move the authorities to permit Christians to keep on serving Him without being persecuted and to live a peaceable life “with complete godly devotion and seriousness.” (Compare Jer 29:7.) Christians might then have more freedom to continue preaching, a work that makes it possible for “all sorts of people” to be saved. (1Ti 2:4) The early Christians in Ephesus, where Timothy was serving at that time, would readily have understood how men in high positions might affect the Christian ministry. For example, some years earlier, during Paul’s third missionary tour (c. 52-56 C.E.), a government official quieted a mob that opposed the preaching done by Paul and his companions. (Ac 19:23-41) But regardless of the actions of secular rulers, Christians pray for God’s help to continue preaching.​—Ac 4:23-31.

godly devotion: The Greek term used here (eu·seʹbei·a) refers to reverence and deep respect for God. (For a discussion of the Greek expression rendered “godly devotion,” see study note on 1Ti 4:7.) The same Greek word is sometimes used in the Septuagint. For example, it occurs at Isa 11:2 and 33:6, where the Hebrew text uses “the fear of Jehovah,” an expression that likewise refers to deep respect for Jehovah God. When 1Ti 2:2 was translated into Syriac (the Peshitta) in the fifth century C.E., this Greek term was rendered “reverence for God,” explicitly including the word for “God.” Similarly, some later translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew have rendered eu·seʹbei·a “fear of Jehovah” in this verse and others where it appears. (1Ti 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 6, 11) However, the New World Bible Translation Committee decided that there was not sufficient support for using the divine name in the main text of this verse.​—See App. C, where the reasons for restoring the divine name in other verses are discussed; compare study note on Ro 10:12.

all sorts of people: While the Greek expression used here may more literally be translated “all people,” the rendering “all sorts of people” is appropriate because of the context. (For other examples, see study notes on Joh 12:32; Ac 2:17.) God wants all people “to attain to repentance” (2Pe 3:9), so he impartially offers salvation to everyone, regardless of their gender, ethnic background, financial status, or social position. (Mt 28:19, 20; Ac 10:34, 35; 17:30) However, the Scriptures clearly indicate that many people will reject God’s invitation and will not be saved. (Mt 7:13, 21; Joh 3:16, 36; 2Th 1:9) So the rendering “all sorts of people” is in harmony with those verses. A similar rendering is also appropriate in the preceding verses, where Paul urges fellow Christians to pray “concerning all sorts of men, concerning kings and all those who are in high positions.”​—1Ti 2:1, 2.

be saved: The terms “to save” and “salvation” are sometimes used by Bible writers to convey the idea of deliverance from danger or destruction. (Ex 14:13, 14; Ac 27:20) Often, though, these terms refer to deliverance from sin. (Mt 1:21) Since death is caused by sin, people who are saved from sin have the hope of living forever.​—Joh 3:16, 17; see study note on 1Ti 1:1.

come to an accurate knowledge: God’s will is that people come to know him and his purposes as accurately, or fully, as possible.​—For a discussion of the Greek term here rendered “an accurate knowledge,” see study notes on Ro 10:2; Eph 4:13.

mediator: The term “mediator” refers to Jesus’ legal role in connection with the new covenant. At Heb 9:15, Jesus is called “a mediator of a new covenant.” (See Glossary, “Mediator,” and study note on Ga 3:19.) Jesus “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all,” laying the basis for men and women of all sorts to be brought into the new covenant. (1Ti 2:6) It is a covenant between God and the 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians.​—Lu 22:20; Heb 8:6, 10-13; Re 7:4-8.

gave himself a corresponding ransom: The Greek term translated “corresponding ransom” is an·tiʹly·tron, which is composed of two parts: an·tiʹ “in exchange for; in correspondence to; in place of” and lyʹtron “ransom; ransom price.” Jesus gave his perfect human life as a sacrifice that corresponds exactly to the perfect human life that Adam lost by rebelling against God. Jehovah could accept Jesus’ sacrifice as “a corresponding ransom” because it fully satisfies His own high standard of justice. In this verse, many Bible translations simply read “ransom,” as at Mt 20:28 and Mr 10:45, where the Greek word lyʹtron occurs. (See study note on Mt 20:28; Glossary, “Ransom.”) However, Paul uses the word an·tiʹly·tron, which occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Commenting on its meaning, one reference work defines this expression as “a ransom, price of redemption, or rather a correspondent ransom.” (A Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament, by John Parkhurst) In view of the foregoing, the rendering “a corresponding ransom” is more appropriate.​—Compare study note on 1Co 15:45.

for all: Or “all sorts of people.”​—Mt 20:28; Joh 3:16; see study note on 1Ti 2:4.

I was appointed a preacher: The Christian Greek Scriptures clearly indicate that the apostle Paul took his appointment seriously. For instance, here and at 2Ti 1:11, he uses three terms (“preacher”; “apostle”; “teacher”), each highlighting a special aspect of his assignment. He was “a preacher,” that is, a proclaimer of God’s message, as were Jesus and John the Baptist. (Mt 4:17; Lu 3:18; see study note on Mt 3:1.) Similarly, Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.”​—2Pe 2:5.

an apostle: Jesus Christ chose Paul to be “an apostle,” or “someone sent out.” (Ac 9:15; Ro 1:5) Paul also describes himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will” and “an apostle to the nations.”​—1Co 1:1; Ro 11:13 and study note; see study note on Ro 1:1.

I am telling the truth, I am not lying: Paul may have felt the need to reinforce the truthfulness of his words because certain opposers claimed that he was a false apostle. Some Christians were apparently influenced by that claim. (2Co 11:4, 5; Ga 1:6, 7, 11, 12) A few of those attempting to discredit Paul may have been among those false teachers with whom Timothy had to contend in Ephesus. (1Ti 1:3, 4) Paul used an expression that echoed oaths that were common in Roman legal procedure. He thus reassured Timothy as well as other Christians in Ephesus that he, Paul, was a true apostle. Similar expressions are found at Ro 9:1 and Ga 1:20.

a teacher of nations: As a teacher, Paul reasoned with his listeners and persuaded many to put faith in Christ. (Ac 17:2; 28:23; see study note on Mt 28:20.) He was “a teacher of nations” in that he taught many non-Jews. This expression emphasizes the worldwide scope of the Christian preaching and teaching work that started in the first century C.E.

the men carry on prayer: Paul here refers to representing the congregation in public prayer, a privilege assigned only to men. (1Co 14:34; 1Ti 2:11, 12) The expression lifting up . . . hands describes a common posture of prayer in Bible times; a man offering a public prayer might raise his hands toward heaven as he begged for God’s favor. (Compare 1Ki 8:22, 23.) However, faithful worshippers also assumed other postures when praying, and the Bible does not consider one position to be better than another. (1Ch 17:16; Mr 11:25; Ac 21:5) The disposition of the person was most important. In this verse, Paul emphasizes that the one praying should be loyal. The Greek word for “loyal” that he used can also be rendered “holy,” “pure,” or “sanctified.” What matters to Jehovah, therefore, is the man’s moral purity and his loyal reliance on Him.​—Compare study note on Tit 1:8.

without anger and debates: This inspired counsel is in harmony with one of the qualifications for Christian overseers that Paul mentions later in this letter​—such an overseer must not be quarrelsome. (1Ti 3:1, 3) Paul thus shows that no Christian man should offer public prayers if he has a divisive attitude or, as one translation says, “angry or quarrelsome thoughts.” Such negative thoughts could easily influence the way prayers are expressed. This counsel fits in with Paul’s words telling all Christians to keep free from vindictive anger and divisive arguments.​—Eph 4:31; Php 2:14; Col 3:8 and study note.

appropriate: Or “respectable.” In this context, the Greek word used suggests dress that would be considered honorable and proper. Such attire would be suitable for one who professes to be a minister of God.

with modesty: In this context, modesty includes taking into consideration one’s own conscience as well as the feelings or opinions of others. A modest Christian would avoid adornment that is considered indecent, that draws undue attention, or that is likely to offend or stumble others.​—1Co 10:32, 33.

soundness of mind: Or “good judgment; sensibleness.”​—See study note on 1Ti 3:2.

not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive clothing: In Paul’s day, many pagan women made a showy display of their wealth or importance. They braided their hair in elaborate designs, set gold ornaments in the braids, and wore very costly garments along with an abundance of jewelry. Such displays were considered excessive even by many non-Christians. Showy adornment was certainly unbecoming to Christians, since it could stir up competition or even distract many from true worship. Paul thus urged Christian women to use good judgment and avoid going to extremes in their personal appearance. Similarly, Peter counseled faithful women to focus their attention, not on external adornment, but on “the secret person of the heart.”​—1Pe 3:3, 4; compare Pr 31:30.

devotion to God: Or “reverence for God.” The Greek word used here (the·o·seʹbei·a) is a combination of the words for “God” and for “devotion” or “reverence.” It refers to deep respect for God and devotion to him and the true worship of him. It is close in meaning to the term eu·seʹbei·a, rendered “godly devotion,” but explicitly includes the Greek word for “God.” (See study notes on 1Ti 2:2; 4:7.) It appears only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures but is also found in the Septuagint. For example, it is used at Ge 20:11 and Job 28:28, where the Hebrew text reads “fear of God” or “fear of Jehovah,” that is, reverence and deep respect for him. Here at 1Ti 2:10, some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew read “fear of Jehovah.” However, the New World Bible Translation Committee decided that there was not sufficient support for using the divine name in the main text of this verse.​—See App. C, where the reasons for restoring the divine name in other verses are discussed; compare study note on Ro 10:12.

Let a woman learn in silence: Paul here counters the view held by many Jewish religious leaders of his day that women should not be taught the Scriptures. He knew that such traditions had no basis in the Hebrew Scriptures; nor did Jesus support such views. In fact, Jesus openly taught women. (Jos 8:35; Lu 10:38-42; Joh 4:7-27) Paul is here inspired to state that in the congregation setting, a woman should learn “in silence.” He uses a Greek word that might also be rendered “quietness” or “calmness.” This counsel is similar to what he earlier wrote to the Corinthian congregation, where some women may have been a disruptive influence.​—See study note on 1Co 14:34.

with full submissiveness: By this inspired counsel, Paul urges Christian women to accept and support Jehovah’s arrangement of headship within the congregation. The following verse shows that God has assigned men to handle the responsibility of teaching the congregation. (1Ti 2:12) When Paul discusses submissiveness and subjection, he does not limit his comments to women. For example, he says that Jesus will “subject himself” to Jehovah (1Co 15:27, 28) and that “the congregation is in subjection to the Christ” (Eph 5:24). Paul also instructs all Christian men and women to “be submissive” to those taking the lead in the congregation.​—Heb 13:17.

Adam was formed first, then Eve: Paul refers to the order of creation to help explain why Christian women should not “teach or . . . exercise authority over a man” in the congregation. (1Ti 2:12; Ge 2:7, 18-22) Paul argues, not that Jehovah made Adam better than Eve, but that God created Adam first. Jehovah assigned him a role; he was to be the family head. Later, God made Eve and also gave her a role of honor, that of being “a helper for” her husband, “a complement of him.” (Ge 2:18) Paul indicates that the headship arrangement was part of Jehovah’s original purpose for humans; it was in place before humans sinned and became imperfect. (1Co 11:3) Paul’s reasoning suggests that in the Christian congregation too, God has given different assignments to men and women.

Also, Adam was not deceived: Under inspiration, Paul here provides a detail that is not stated in the Genesis account. Adam made his choice knowingly; no deception clouded his mind. So he knew, for example, that the serpent had lied to Eve in telling her that she would not die if she disobeyed God. (Ge 3:4-6, 12) Yet, rather than seeking Jehovah’s help, Adam followed Eve’s lead into sin. Thus, he failed to carry out his God-given role as family head. He bore a heavy responsibility, and Paul called him the “one man” through whom “sin entered into the world.”​—See study note on Ro 5:12.

the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor: Paul here uses a word for “transgressor” that refers to someone who steps outside of proper limits. Eve knew full well God’s command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and bad; she even repeated it to the serpent. (Ge 3:3) Paul says that she was “thoroughly deceived” and accepted the serpent’s lies. In fact, Eve herself said: “The serpent deceived me, so I ate.” (Ge 3:13) She was far from innocent, though; she willingly chose to rebel against Jehovah. It is noteworthy that Eve made her own decision rather than seek guidance from her family head. She also failed to fulfill her role as a loyal helper to her husband; instead, she wrongly used her influence on Adam, pressuring him to sin. (Ge 2:18; 3:1-6, 12) Paul uses the case of Eve to show that the limits God sets serve as a blessing and a protection.

she will be kept safe through childbearing: If a woman bore children, cared for them, and managed a household, she would be “kept safe” from becoming a gossiper and a meddler in other people’s affairs. (1Ti 5:11-15) Her hard work for her family, along with her “faith and love and holiness,” would keep her close to Jehovah.

soundness of mind: Or “good judgment; sensibleness.”​—See study note on 1Ti 3:2.

Media

Women’s Hairstyles in Roman Times
Women’s Hairstyles in Roman Times

In the first century, many women parted their long hair in the middle, pulled it back, and fashioned it into a bun (1). Some women wore more elaborate hairstyles, braiding and curling their hair (2). To produce curls, hair was wrapped around a calamistrum, a hollow rod that had been heated over coals. Wealthy women wore fancier styles and usually had their hair done by a slave. Elaborately arranged styles required hairpins, combs, ribbons, and hairnets to hold the hair in place. The apostles Paul and Peter advised Christian women against drawing attention to themselves with extravagant hairstyles. Rather, women were encouraged to “adorn themselves . . . with modesty” and a “quiet and mild spirit.” Such qualities are highly valued by Jehovah.​—1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3, 4.