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

prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving: Paul uses “prayer” as the general term for worshipful communication with God. “Supplication” is more specific; it is a strong word that suggests pleading or entreaty, often accompanied by strong emotions and even tears. (Heb 5:7) One reference work defines it as “the cry of personal need.” By adding “along with thanksgiving,” Paul shows that it is always fitting to express appreciation to God. Even in times of dire need, there are reasons to be grateful; Paul knew as much from his own experiences. (Ac 16:22-25; Eph 5:19, 20) Paul also mentions petitions, using a word that means “requests”; here, it focuses on the things asked for in prayer. Paul has just explained that a Christian’s petitions may embrace a wide array of needs.​—See study note on in everything in this verse.

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.

the superior authorities: That is, the secular governing authorities. The term here rendered “authorities” is the plural form of the Greek word e·xou·siʹa. Readers of the Greek Septuagint may have been familiar with the way this word was applied to rulerships or dominion. (See Da 7:6, 14, 27; 11:5, where e·xou·siʹa is used to render Hebrew and Aramaic words meaning “authority to rule; rulership; ruling power.”) At Lu 12:11, it is used in the expression “government officials, and authorities.” The Greek term rendered “superior” is related to a word used at 1Ti 2:2 in the expression “kings and all those who are in high positions [or “in positions of authority,” ftn.].” In some contexts, it refers to being in a controlling position, having power or authority over others, but it does not imply being “supreme.” This is shown by the usage at Php 2:3, where Christians are urged to consider others “superior” to themselves, not supreme.

godly devotion: The Greek word (eu·seʹbei·a) conveys the idea of profound reverence and awe for God that a Christian expresses by serving God loyally and obeying him fully. The word is broad in meaning; it also suggests the kind of loyal love for or personal attachment to God that moves a person to seek to do what pleases Him. One lexicon thus summarizes the overall idea as “to live as God would have us live.” Paul also shows that godly devotion is not an inborn trait. Thus, he urges Timothy to work hard, training as an athlete would, to strengthen this quality in himself. Earlier in the letter, Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus Christ set the greatest example of godly devotion.​—See study note on 1Ti 3:16.

Lord: The identity of the one referred to as “Lord” (Kyʹri·os) in this verse cannot be established with certainty from the context; nor have Bible scholars come to an agreement as to whether Paul meant the Lord Jesus Christ or the Lord Jehovah. Ro 10:9 clearly refers to Jesus Christ as Lord, and the quotation from Isa 28:16 found at Ro 10:11 applies to him as well. So if the “Lord” at Ro 10:12 is to be directly linked with “him” at Ro 10:11, the “Lord” referred to is Jesus Christ. On the other hand, at Ro 10:9, Paul speaks of exercising faith ‘in your heart’ that “God raised him up from the dead.” Furthermore, Ro 10:13, a quotation from Joe 2:32, states: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” Hence, if the “Lord” referred to at Ro 10:12 is the same as at Ro 10:13, Jehovah God is the “Lord” being referred to. The thought would then be the same as that expressed at Ro 3:29​—there is one God over both Jews and Gentiles. This is an example of how the New World Bible Translation Committee examined the context of each occurrence of the word Kyʹri·os (Lord) to determine where to restore the divine name. If the Hebrew Scripture background and the context provide no clear support for restoring the divine name, the committee retained the rendering “Lord” so as not to overstep the bounds of a translator, venturing into the field of interpretation.​—See App. C1.

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 men: Or “people of all sorts.” Jesus declares that he will draw people of all backgrounds to himself, regardless of nationality, race, or economic status. (Ac 10:34, 35; Re 7:9, 10; see study note on Joh 6:44.) It is worth noting that on this occasion, “some Greeks” worshipping at the temple wanted to see Jesus. (See study note on Joh 12:20.) Many translations render the Greek word pas (“everyone; all [people]”) in a way that indicates that every human will ultimately be drawn to Jesus. This idea, however, would not agree with the rest of the inspired Scriptures. (Ps 145:20; Mt 7:13; Lu 2:34; 2Th 1:9) While the Greek word literally means “all; everyone” (Ro 5:12), Mt 5:11 and Ac 10:12 clearly show that it can mean “every sort” or “all sorts”; in these verses many translations use renderings such as “every sort of; all kinds of.”​—Joh 1:7; 1Ti 2:4.

every sort of flesh: Or “all sorts (kinds) of people.” Lit., “all flesh.” The Greek word sarx (often rendered “flesh”) is here used of living humans, so “all flesh” would generally refer to all mankind. (See study note on Joh 17:2.) But in this context, the Greek phrase “all flesh” has a more restricted use. God did not pour out his spirit on all humans on earth or even on all humans in Israel, so it does not refer to all humans without exception. Rather, the phrase here refers to all sorts of humans without distinction. God poured out holy spirit on ‘sons and daughters, young men and old men, male slaves and female slaves,’ that is, all sorts of people. (Ac 2:17, 18) A similar use of the Greek word for “all” (pas) is found at 1Ti 2:3, 4, according to which it is God’s will that “all sorts of people should be saved.”​—See study note on Joh 12:32.

God our Savior: In Paul’s first letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus, the term “Savior” is used six times with reference to Jehovah God (here and at 1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4) compared to only twice in the rest of the Christian Greek Scriptures (Lu 1:47; Jude 25). In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah is often described as the Savior of his people, Israel. (Ps 106:8, 10, 21; Isa 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; Jer 14:8) Since Jesus is the one through whom Jehovah saves mankind from sin and death, Jesus too is referred to as “Savior.” (Ac 5:31; 2Ti 1:10) He is also called “the Chief Agent of . . . salvation.” (Heb 2:10) The name Jesus, given to God’s Son by angelic direction, means “Jehovah Is Salvation” because, said the angel, “he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21 and study note) So Jesus’ very name emphasizes that Jehovah is the Source of the salvation that is accomplished through Jesus. Therefore, both the Father and the Son are spoken of as being a Savior. (Tit 2:11-13; 3:4-6) Both the Hebrew and the Greek (in the Septuagint) terms for “savior” are also used of humans who were raised up as “saviors to rescue” God’s people from their enemies.​—Ne 9:27; Jg 3:9, 15.

accurate knowledge: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, there are two words commonly translated “knowledge,” gnoʹsis and e·piʹgno·sis. Both are related to the verb gi·noʹsko, which means “to know; to understand; to perceive.” E·piʹgno·sis, the word used here, is a strengthened form of gnoʹsis (e·piʹ, literally meaning “upon” but here conveying the idea of “additional”). It can often be seen from the context to mean “exact, real, or full knowledge.” Here Paul uses this word to show that the zeal of his fellow countrymen, the Jews, was misdirected. It was not based on a correct understanding of God’s will as revealed through Jesus, the promised Messiah.

the accurate knowledge: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, there are two words commonly translated “knowledge,” gnoʹsis and e·piʹgno·sis. The word used here, e·piʹgno·sis, is a strengthened form of gnoʹsis (e·piʹ, literally meaning “upon” but here conveying the idea of “additional”). Depending on the context, it may mean “exact, real, or full knowledge.” (See study note on Ro 10:2.) Here Paul uses this word to show that a mature Christian must be united with fellow believers in gaining full knowledge of the Son of God, Christ Jesus.​—1Co 1:24, 30; Eph 3:18; Col 2:2, 3; 2Pe 1:8; 2:20.

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.

a mediator: The unnamed mediator was Moses. He acted as the intermediary between Jehovah and the nation of Israel for establishing a covenant, or a legally binding agreement, between God and the nation. (See Glossary, “Mediator.”) The Greek word me·siʹtes, translated “mediator,” occurs six times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Ga 3:19, 20; 1Ti 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24) It is a legal term. According to one lexicon, it means “one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact [that is, an agreement], or for ratifying a covenant.” In mediating the Law covenant, Moses helped the nation of Israel to keep the covenant and to receive its benefits. For example, Moses officiated at the inauguration of the covenant. (Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9:18-22) He installed the priests and put the work of the priesthood into operation. (Le 8:1-36; Heb 7:11) He also conveyed a body of more than 600 laws to the Israelites and pleaded that Jehovah spare them from punishment.​—Nu 16:20-22; 21:7; De 9:18-20, 25-29.

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.

ransom: The Greek word lyʹtron (from the verb lyʹo, meaning “to let loose; to release”) was used by non-Biblical Greek writers to refer to a price paid to release those under bond or in slavery or to ransom prisoners of war. It occurs twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures, here and at Mr 10:45. The related word an·tiʹly·tron appears at 1Ti 2:6 and is rendered “corresponding ransom.” Other related words are ly·troʹo·mai, meaning “to set free; to ransom” (Tit 2:14; 1Pe 1:18; also ftns.), and a·po·lyʹtro·sis, often rendered “release by ransom” (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:15; 11:35; Ro 3:24; 8:23).​—See Glossary.

The first man Adam . . . The last Adam: In the first part of the verse, Paul quotes from Ge 2:7 (“the man became a living person”), but he adds the words “first” and “Adam.” In the second part of the verse, he calls Jesus “the last Adam.” Then at 1Co 15:47, Paul calls Adam “the first man [or, “human”]” and Jesus “the second man [or, “human”].” The first Adam disobeyed his Father and Life-Giver; the last Adam showed complete obedience to Him. The first Adam spread sin to his offspring; the last Adam gave his human life as a sin-atoning sacrifice. (Ro 5:12, 18, 19) Jehovah then restored Jesus to life as a spirit. (1Pe 3:18) Like Adam, Jesus was a perfect man, so in harmony with His own justice, Jehovah could accept Jesus’ sacrifice as “a corresponding ransom” to buy back Adam’s descendants. This ransom sacrifice would restore to humans the life prospects that the first Adam had forfeited. (1Ti 2:5, 6) Thus, Jesus could rightfully be called “the last Adam,” a term that indicates that there will be no need for another Adam after him.​—Compare study notes on Lu 3:38; Ro 5:14.

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.

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.

preaching: The Greek word basically means “to make proclamation as a public messenger.” It stresses the manner of the proclamation: usually an open, public declaration rather than a sermon to a group.

an apostle to the nations: That is, to the non-Jews, or Gentiles. When Paul was converted to Christianity, probably about 34 C.E., the resurrected Jesus declared: “This man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel.” (Ac 9:15) Thus Paul was chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ to be “an apostle [meaning “someone sent out”] to the nations.” (Ac 26:14-18; Ro 1:5; Ga 1:15, 16; 1Ti 2:7) While Paul had strong conviction and proofs of his apostleship, nowhere does the Bible suggest that he replaced one of “the Twelve”; nor did he ever refer to himself as one of “the Twelve.”​—1Co 15:5-8; compare study note on Ac 1:23.

an apostle: The Greek noun a·poʹsto·los is derived from the verb a·po·stelʹlo, meaning “to send away (out).” (Mt 10:5; Lu 11:49; 14:32) Its basic meaning is clearly illustrated in Jesus’ statement at Joh 13:16, where it is rendered “one who is sent.” Paul was called to be an apostle to the nations, or non-Jews, by the direct choice of the resurrected Jesus Christ. (Ac 9:1-22; 22:6-21; 26:12-23) Paul affirmed his apostleship by pointing out that he had seen the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ (1Co 9:1, 2) and had performed miracles (2Co 12:12). Paul also served as a channel for imparting the holy spirit to baptized believers, providing further evidence that he was a true apostle. (Ac 19:5, 6) Though he frequently refers to his apostleship, nowhere does he include himself among “the Twelve.”​—1Co 15:5, 8-10; Ro 11:13; Ga 2:6-9; 2Ti 1:1, 11.

teaching them: The Greek word rendered “to teach” involves instruction, explanation, showing things by argument, and offering proofs. (See study notes on Mt 3:1; 4:23.) Teaching them to observe all the things that Jesus had commanded would be an ongoing process, which would include teaching what he taught, applying his teaching, and following his example.​—Joh 13:17; Eph 4:21; 1Pe 2:21.

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.

wrath, anger: The two words Paul employs here are very close in meaning. Some scholars suggest that the first, or·geʹ, originally focused on an inner feeling of wrath, while the second, thy·mosʹ, had more to do with the outburst expressing that feeling. By the time of Paul’s writing, such distinctions may have become blurred. In using both words, Paul is warning against the tendency to allow wrath to fester in the heart as well as the outbursts of anger that may result.​—Eph 4:31; see study notes on Eph 4:26.

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.

sound in mind: Or “have good judgment; be sensible.” According to one lexicon, the Greek words rendered “sound in mind” and “soundness of mind” refer to being “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” A person who is sound in mind would show balance and avoid judging matters hastily.

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.

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.

godly devotion: The Greek word (eu·seʹbei·a) conveys the idea of profound reverence and awe for God that a Christian expresses by serving God loyally and obeying him fully. The word is broad in meaning; it also suggests the kind of loyal love for or personal attachment to God that moves a person to seek to do what pleases Him. One lexicon thus summarizes the overall idea as “to live as God would have us live.” Paul also shows that godly devotion is not an inborn trait. Thus, he urges Timothy to work hard, training as an athlete would, to strengthen this quality in himself. Earlier in the letter, Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus Christ set the greatest example of godly devotion.​—See study note on 1Ti 3:16.

Lord: The identity of the one referred to as “Lord” (Kyʹri·os) in this verse cannot be established with certainty from the context; nor have Bible scholars come to an agreement as to whether Paul meant the Lord Jesus Christ or the Lord Jehovah. Ro 10:9 clearly refers to Jesus Christ as Lord, and the quotation from Isa 28:16 found at Ro 10:11 applies to him as well. So if the “Lord” at Ro 10:12 is to be directly linked with “him” at Ro 10:11, the “Lord” referred to is Jesus Christ. On the other hand, at Ro 10:9, Paul speaks of exercising faith ‘in your heart’ that “God raised him up from the dead.” Furthermore, Ro 10:13, a quotation from Joe 2:32, states: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” Hence, if the “Lord” referred to at Ro 10:12 is the same as at Ro 10:13, Jehovah God is the “Lord” being referred to. The thought would then be the same as that expressed at Ro 3:29​—there is one God over both Jews and Gentiles. This is an example of how the New World Bible Translation Committee examined the context of each occurrence of the word Kyʹri·os (Lord) to determine where to restore the divine name. If the Hebrew Scripture background and the context provide no clear support for restoring the divine name, the committee retained the rendering “Lord” so as not to overstep the bounds of a translator, venturing into the field of interpretation.​—See App. C1.

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 the women keep silent in the congregations: Paul has already given the direction to “keep silent” to those speaking in tongues without an interpreter and to those prophesying while another receives a revelation. In this context, he gives direction to women who were speaking out of turn during the congregation meetings. (1Co 14:28, 30, 34) Perhaps some women were interrupting or challenging the men who took the lead in teaching. Paul encouraged those women who had questions or concerns to “ask their husbands at home” rather than disrupt the meetings. (1Co 14:35) Additionally, Paul is here inspired to uphold the Scriptural direction that God assigns men to handle the oversight positions among his people. (1Ti 2:12) The apostle left no doubt that he greatly valued women as fellow ministers or preachers of the good news. (Ro 16:1, 2; Php 4:2, 3) His inspired direction did not exclude women from participating in congregation meetings.​—1Co 11:5; Heb 10:23-25.

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.

because they had all sinned​—: In this verse, Paul explains the basic truth about how sin and death spread to all humans. This explanation agrees with the theme of the book of Romans: God is impartial and holds out the possibility of salvation to all sinful humans having faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Paul explains that both Jews and non-Jews are sinners and need to exercise faith in Jehovah God and in the ransom of his Son to gain a righteous standing with God. (Ro 1:16, 17) The world mentioned here refers to the world of mankind. (See study note on Joh 3:16.) The dash at the end of the verse (some scholarly editions of the Greek text also have a dash here) indicates a break in Paul’s reasoning that seems to resume in verse 18. So the idea seems to be: In verse 12, Paul begins a comparison with Adam (“Just as through one man” all became sinners) and completes his line of reasoning in verse 18 (“so too through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is their being declared righteous for life”) and in verse 19. Thus, through Jesus’ entire course of integrity, culminating in his death, it was made possible for many to attain righteousness and salvation by their faith.

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.

sound in mind: Or “have good judgment; be sensible.” According to one lexicon, the Greek words rendered “sound in mind” and “soundness of mind” refer to being “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” A person who is sound in mind would show balance and avoid judging matters hastily.

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.