New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


2:1- see on 1 Pet. 3:7.

I urge therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made- In view of the way believers fall away and also because of our great duty to witness to the world, first of all (i.e. most importantly), prayer must be made (1 Tim. 2:1 and context). Indeed, it is an actual sin- albeit a sin of omission- to cease to pray for our brethren (1 Sam. 12:23).

We naturally ask why these four forms of prayer are spoken of here: "supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings". One possible explanation is that these terms are all elsewhere used about the prayer work of the Lord Jesus; indeed, "intercessions" are spoken of as being specifically His work and not within our capability to make (Rom. 8:26,27,34; for the other words, see Heb. 5:7; Lk. 22:19,45). And directly in this context, Paul emphasizes that there is only one mediator, one who can make intercession- and that is not us, but the Lord Jesus (:5). This leads us to reconsider the opening words of this verse: "I urge...". This translates parakleo, to call near. It could be that Paul is calling out to the Lord Jesus to pray / draw near to God for the things he now mentions.

For all men- If as suggested above Paul is calling the Lord Jesus to pray / intercede "for all men", this enables us to understand the same phrase being used in :4 concerning God's willingness to save "all men". The Judaists would have felt that prayer was only appropriate for Jews and not for Gentiles. 

2:2 F
or kings, and all that are in high place, that we may live a calm and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity- This implies that environment does indeed affect our spirituality, and we should pray for that environment to be such that it allows us to live in "proper conduct". And perhaps it follows that we ought to consciously seek environments which enable us to lead Godly lives. Yet on the other hand, according to the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5, God seeks our spiritual fruitfulness and gives us ultimately the optimal environment for that. Also remember that Paul is writing to Timothy about the situation in Ephesus, where the believers were very much at the mercy of the mood of the governing bodies towards them.

The Greek for “dignity” conveys the idea of soberness, gravity, seriousness. This is indeed appropriate for those who are face moment by moment with the very real issues of eternity, eternal life or death... both for themselves and others. Perhaps this was a reference to Timothy's need to "flee youthful passions" (2 Tim. 2:22 ESV). He needed to act with a gravity beyond his years.

God's own Son made the point that He did not pray for the world, but for His own people (Jn. 17:9). The way He tells the Father this in prayer would seem to emphasize how strongly He felt about this. The commands to pray for the world are in the context of requesting that human Governments might permit God's people to live spiritual lives among them (Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:2); not for the Governments etc. in themselves.

2:3 This is good and acceptable- A reference to the incense and sacrifices being acceptable before God. For prayer really is our equivalent of incense and sacrifice under the new covenant. Again, remember that Paul is writing to Timothy in the context of the problems faced from Judaizers.

In the sight of God our saviour- With the Governments so against them, it would've been tempting for Christians to think that they should publicize their prayers for their rulers in order to show that they were not against the Governing bodies. But Paul, as so often, foresees that likely tendency and urges them to pray because it is acceptable before God. Prayer should never be used for image or to impress men.

2:4 Who would wish all men to be saved- See on 2:1 For all men. I have suggested that Paul bids the Lord Jesus pray for all men, especially those in the Governments; and he here gives the reason. The Lord's will that all be saved requires the taking of the Gospel to all men, and their acceptance of the message. And so Paul bids the Lord Jesus to pray for those in authority, because it was and is typically them who hinder the spreading of the Gospel and who create environments which penalize accepting the Gospel.

Paul tells Timothy [or calls the Lord Jesus- see on :1] to pray for the Government to allow him to continue preaching, because God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1-4). There is here the suggestion that Timothy’s prayers would enable more men to come to the knowledge of the Truth, and thereby fulfil God’s intention. But that intention and will of God had been made dependent on the prayers and preaching of the likes of Timothy. God’s “will” is that all will be saved; yet not all will be. His will is that not one of the little ones perish (Mt. 18:14); but we can offend the little ones, so that they do perish. His intention is that the church reveals His wisdom to this world (Eph. 3:10); but it doesn’t always do so. None can resist His will; and yet His will is not necessarily what He does, in that His will does not force men and women into obedience or compliance. God is not a manipulator nor a bully, i.e. He does not enforce His will over others. Only in the future Kingdom of God will His will be done on earth as it is now done in Heaven. His will to save all has been frustrated by the church. The Gospel was to be taken to every person under heaven, from the first century onwards. So why, then, did billions live and die in ignorance? I have no final answer, but I would suggest that this was not His will; just as our behaviour so often is not His will. The church was potentially empowered to take the Gospel to the planet, right from the start. And yes, I include to the remotest islands of the Pacific, the jungles of South America etc. The technology would have been raised up- the logistical side of it would've been nothing for God to fix if believers had wished to do it with all their hearts. Instead they argued over theology and got lost in legalism and divisions between themselves, and allowed the world and all its limitations to influence their thinking. Here, Paul is appealing for prayers for Governments so that "all men" can be saved. He realized that state opposition hinders the salvation of all men, because people

It could also be observed that "all men" need not mean 'every human being', but 'all types of men'. In our age we see this happening. The Gospel is going to all the world. Not only to every nation, but to every type of person. Even in the West, men from prisoners to the highest business executives are now being baptized; and women from prostitutes to politicians. There is repeated Biblical emphasis that “all men” will hear and respond to the Gospel (Jn. 1:7; 5:23; 12:32; Acts 17:30,31; 1 Tim. 2:4). It can’t mean ‘every man, woman and child who ever live’; for many have lived and died knowing nothing of Christ. It must surely mean that a few of ‘all [types of] people’, ethnically, linguistically, socially, in terms of personality types... will be saved; just as there were representatives of all types of animal gathered into the ark [a type of baptism into Christ, as Peter informs us]. If the rain is a type of the second coming, it follows that before that time, all types of animal, clean and unclean [which Acts 10 interprets as Jews and Gentiles] must be gathered into the ark of Christ. And now in this century, as we come to the end of human history, all types of people are realising deep within them that something is up with this world. They are starting to feel their desperation, for all their show of hedonism. There are far more believers in God today than there were 50 years ago. That’s a fact. Never say or think that people ‘just aren’t interested’. Some of them are, indeed more and more of them are, and they are desperately interested. Men and women are somehow turning to Him, but lack the knowledge. And if we go on with this work, the end will shortly come.


And come to the knowledge of the truth- Paul sometimes writes of the truth, with the article; but this is one of the 14 times in the pastoral letters where he doesn't use the article. So I don't think his sense is that God wishes all men to pass through a process of knowledge / study until they come to a defined set of theological understandings which he calls "the truth". The very same phrase is used in 2 Tim. 3:7: "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". So learning, 'Bible study' of itself will not necessarily lead to "the knowledge of the truth". And that is true to observed experience; for all manner of folks study the Bible but come through all their learning to a different set of truths at the end of it. I suggest that as so often, there are two halves to this verse, which state the same thing but in different terms. "To be saved" is parallel with 'coming to the knowledge of the truth'. Jn. 17:3 speaks of life eternal as knowing the one true God; the great salvation which we shall experience in terms of knowing Him and His Son, the relationship with them then which begins now- that is the knowledge of truth. This is the one and ultimate truth. And that is not the same as sitting for eternity reciting the terms of a statement of faith, the various correct Biblical interpretations we have come across. Knowing God and His Son is all about relationship with them, as is made clear so often and especially in John's Gospel. Phil. 3:8 speaks of "knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" and parallels it with 'winning Christ' at the last day; the 'knowledge' which is in view here in 1 Tim. 1 is also, I suggest, speaking of our relationship with Christ in the Kingdom. This is the 'knowledge' of 1 Cor. 13:12: "Then shall I know, even as also I am known". For now we "see through a glass darkly", our 'knowledge' is blurred and incomplete; and only then shall we see / know Him "face to face".

Unfortunately, an over hasty and slipshod reading of this verse has led to the phrase 'saving truth', by which the impression is given that the possession of true Biblical interpretation will somehow save the possessor thereof. And thus the attitude develops that if we 'know the truth', in the sense of understanding a particular set of teachings, we shall thereby be saved; and maintaining those same understandings up to our grave planks is seen as the most essential part of Christian endeavour. But we cannot be saved by intellectual knowledge; but rather by faith in the simple truth of Christ and God's saving grace. This is what can lead us to the faith that is certain that if the Lord returns at this moment, by grace I shall indeed be saved. Focusing upon 'saving truth' gives high priority to the issue of whether we have our interpretations all completely right; and it creates inevitable tension over words and meanings, with the need to disfellowship others who differ however slightly from the supposed 'saving truth' of our interpretations.

2:5- see on Heb. 4:14.

For there is one God and one mediator- The "for" here suggests that we are being given another reason for Paul's statement that the Lord wishes the salvation of "all men". The fact the Lord Jesus was human, a man, shows God's desire to save all men. A representative man was required to save men. God is not passive to human salvation or the extent of it; having given His only beloved Son to save men, He wants all men to be saved. He wants us saved! He therefore has no pleasure in the death or condemnation of the wicked; exactly because He gave His only Son to save men. He wants to see the purpose of the sacrifice achieved. The logic of encouragement here is powerful indeed. The reminder that there is only one God and one mediator may suggest that their total and unique focus is combined upon "men". There are no other creations God is saving through His Son, because His Son was human and therefore is a saviour of humans.  

Between God and men, the man Christ Jesus- Against the Judaist background of this letter, it would seem that Paul is emphasizing that God is seeking connection with "men", indeed "all men"- and not just the Jews. Moses was a mediator between God and Israel, but the Lord Jesus between God and "all men". The word for "mediator" is mainly used about the Lord Jesus being the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). The "men" in view would then be all those who are in the new covenant; and these, therefore, would be the "all men" whose salvation God wishes, the "all men" for whom the ransom was given, i.e. those redeemed / ransomed (:6). However, the problem is that the "all men" is surely that of :1 for whom prayer is to be made, and includes governors. However it could be argued that "for all men; for kings, and all that are in high place" (2:1,2) could refer to leaders within the ecclesia; although basileus, "kings", is hard to apply to church elders.

The extent of Christ's humanity is brought out by the RV translation of 1 Tim. 2:5. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus". Paul is writing this after the Lord's ascension and glorification. A mediator might be thought of as being somehow separate from both parties; but our mediator is actually "himself man", so on our side, as it were. Having received Divine nature doesn't take anything away from the Lord's appreciation of our humanity, to the extent that Paul here [for all the other exalted terms he uses elsewhere about Jesus] can call Him even now "himself man".
He is described even now as “the man Christ Jesus”, able to feel the pulse of our humanity. This, in passing, opens a window into what Divine nature will be like: we will be able to completely feel the human experience, to the extent of still bearing the title ‘men’ even in immortality. On this account we will be able to relate to the mortals in the Millennium.

Throughout this exposition I take the position that the Ephesian church was under strong influence from the Diana cult. This cult taught that there were many gods; whilst Paul's statement stands true in a global sense, it is clear that as so often in these letters, he is alluding to the specific errors of the Diana cult.

The Jewish obsession with Angels influenced the early Christians in the area of Christology [i.e. theories about Christ], just as it did on the topic of the Devil. Chapters like Hebrews 1 and Colossians 2 deal with this in detail, stressing that Jesus was not an Angel [something which the Watchtower movement of today needs to consider more fully]. The Jewish Testament Of Daniel 6.1 exhorts Israel to "draw near unto God and unto the angel that intercedes for you, for he is a mediator between God and man". This is alluded to by Paul in 1 Tim. 2:5, when he underlines that to us there is "one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus". Clearly Paul is alluding to the apostate Jewish angelology and correcting it- as in Hebrews 2, the point is laboured that Jesus was a man and not an Angel, and He is the only mediator.

Much has been made of the similarities between Jn. 1:1-3 and the 'Wisdom' literature of the Jews. Judaism believed in a number of intermediaries who interceded between God and Israel- Wisdom, the Shekinah [glory], the Logos / word. The Torah [law] had become so elevated and personified that it was spoken of almost as a separate 'God'. John and Paul are picking up these terms and explaining their true meaning- Jesus is the glory [shekinah] of God, He alone is the one and only true mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). By stressing that the mediator was "the man Christ Jesus", Paul is also taking a swipe at the Greek idea of a superhuman mediator between the world and the world's creator, sometimes called a "second God". And when it comes to the Logos, John is explaining in his prologue that the theme of all God's word in the Old Testament was ultimately about Jesus, and that 'word' became flesh in a person, i.e. Jesus, in His life and death. Understanding this background helps us understand why John appears to use very 'Divine' language about the logos. He's doing so because he's alluding to the mistaken beliefs of Judaism and showing where the truth really lies in Jesus.

2:6 Who gave himself as a ransom- see on Rom. 3:19; Gal. 5:1. We were bought out of slavery by His death- and should not remain under bondage to any legal code nor to anything.

For all- Christ died a ransom “for all”, and yet more specifically “a ransom for many”, i.e. not all (1 Tim. 2:6 cp. Mk. 10:45). See on 1 Cor. 11:3. The Lord was “a ransom for all", although it was only us, the redeemed, who were ransomed by Him out of sin's slavery (Lk. 1:68; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18; Rom. 8:13; Rev. 5:9; 14:3,4). The "all men" of our 'world' could therefore be limited to those who constitute God's world, as here defined. The real solution to being 'too inward looking' is to go out into the highways and byways, and compel men to come in to the covenants of promise.

Do we admit that we just don't preach as we should, failing to engage people with the Gospel because we assume 'nobody's interested'? 1 Tim. 2:1-6 has something for us. The Lord's death on the cross was a ransom payment "for all men"; and in this context, Paul urges that because God therefore wishes "all men to be saved" we should therefore pray "for all men, [even] for kings and those in authority". If the Lord's death truly was for all, in that He was representative there of all men, He there "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9)... then we should pray for "all men" quite literally to be saved, knowing that God is willing that "all men be saved". And Paul makes this point in the context of appealing for us to pray for all men, even Kings. This means that we should pray for even those we consider most unlikely- that they might be saved. For the cross of Christ has potentially saved them- if they will accept it. Thus Paul comments in 1 Tim. 2:6 that the cross was "a ransom for all, to be testified". The testifying or witnessing to it is to be done by our preaching. Notice how Paul draws a dynamic parallel between praying for all men and witnessing to all men (1 Tim. 2:1 cp. 6). Preaching- when it is truly inspired by the cross- can never be a prayer-less exercise, a mere presentation of information. It will be done prayerfully, thoughtfully targeted at specific individuals whom we're praying will accept the message.

Paul exhorts that prayers be made “for all men", just because “Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all", and He thereby is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:1-6). Because of what He enabled for all, we should pray for all, that somehow circumstances might be allowed which enable all men’s salvation in Jesus to indeed spread to all men.

The testimony made at the due time- The idea is overall as in GNB: "That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved". The cross of Christ is the assurance that God wants human salvation. He is not passively waiting for us to clear some bar, but rather urges us on through demonstrating in the cross His passion for our salvation.

2:7 To this [end] I was appointed a preacher and an apostle- This continues to be in the context of the Lord's desire to save all men. Any effort we make to preach and save men has His full passion, will and enabling behind it.

I speak the truth, I do not lie- As noted on 1:1, it would seem that Timothy was perhaps doubting Paul's authority over him; or at least, those Timothy was caring for had such doubts. I sense that Paul is really speaking to Timothy's doubts; for throughout the correspondence we have the impression of Timothy having doubts and fears about everything. And yet in Rev. 2:2 the Lord later commends the church at Ephesus for having tested and rejected false apostles in their church. So we can work out that Paul's apostleship was under challenge from false apostles, and Timothy was prone to be taken in by them. The fact that finally he rejected those false apostles shows how a man was made strong out of psychological weakness.

A teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth- Preacher, apostle, teacher is allusive to the titles of Jewish rabbis and teachers. Paul is saying that he has indeed been appointed rabbi with responsibility for teaching Gentiles, just as there was such a position within Judaism. However, in practice Paul didn't focus on his commission to the Gentiles, but rather was obsessed with preaching to Gentiles- which was Peter's commission.

I therefore desire that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands- I suggested on 2:1 that Paul has called upon the Lord Jesus to pray for all men, to enable the Father's will to save all men to be progressed and achieved.  Now he asks the "men" who were part of the "all men" to be saved- to themselves pray. The subject of the prayer is clearly the progression of the plan to save "all men".

Having reminded us that there is “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all”, Paul drives home the practical result of understanding Christ’s work: “Therefore I desire that the men pray everywhere... without wrath and doubting” (1 Tim. 2:5-8). “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:15,16 NIV). Really appreciating that Christ is our personal High Priest to offer our prayers powerfully to God, should inspire us to regularly pray in faith.

Without anger- Perhaps the warning is to not pray like Jonah did, angry that Gentiles and "all men" could be saved. In this case the words of prayer would have been said with an agenda, not to God but designed more for the hearing of men or as a duty which the heart was not in. This is an easy pitfall in prayer- to pray to oneself as did the Pharisee (Lk. 18:11), or to pray with attention to how our human hearers will receive the words. To begin prayer with “Our Father” and a few thoughts on the God to whom our words are being directed is surely wise advice from the Lord. We can pray with an impure heart; and yet the very practice of prayer can make us think we are somehow spiritually acceptable before God. Thus Paul had to warn that prayer should be made “without wrath and doubting”. He knew that a man can pray to God with an angry heart, thinking the act of prayer cancels out his anger.

And dispute- Or, “argument”. This connects back to Paul's warning to Timothy not to allow himself or others to get obsessed with endless questions and disputes about interpretation, "which only produce arguments" (1:4). One problem with all that argument and inter-personal tension arising therefrom is that prayer is hindered, especially intense prayer for the salvation of "all men".

2:9- see on 1 Cor. 14:34.

In like manner, I urge that women adorn themselves- "I also" (AV), or "In like manner" means the women are being addressed in the context of :8. And that is of prayer. I suggest that the warning is not to pray as the pagans and some Jews did- whereby women thought that by dressing up nicely they would somehow impress God and give power to their prayers. It is in this context that Paul is criticizing dressing up. The whole figure of a bride adorning herself is used positively in the Bible; it's not that God is against cosmetic adornment per se. But it adds nothing to the acceptability of prayer- that's the point in the context. The 'speaking' of women which is in view later in this chapter is probably likewise in this context, alluding to some local custom of women in the church at Ephesus.

In modest apparel- As noted above, I suggest the reference is to prayer not being made acceptable by some gaudily dressed priestess. Remember Paul is writing to Timothy in the context of his work in Ephesus- which was a city devoted to the worship of Diana, descriptions of whom fit exactly with the language Paul uses here about the kind of dress which is not appropriate to associate with the acceptability of female prayer. Now we can understand why Paul was just emphasized that there is only one mediator between God and man (:5); the Diana cult featured a mass of female priestesses, the Melissai, who were claimed to be mediators. Paul is teaching that men should pray to God through the one mediator- and not think that gaudily dressed women in the church were adding something to the prayers of males. For more reason to think that the Diana cult was the problem in the Ephesian church, see on 3:15 The house of God. The priestesses of Diana, like many such cult priestesses, had sex with male worshippers in return for money under the excuse that they were enabling the worshippers to have intercourse with the god or goddess. The sex act, ejaculation within a woman, was understood as intercourse / fellowship / worship / prayer to the idol, through the idol's representative. This is why this challenge to these young women was so serious. Here, Paul says that these young women must not do this, because Christ is the only mediator, and must save themselves from their path to condemnation by having children. Later in 1 Timothy he addresses the same group of young women, saying that they must stop defrauding the widow's welfare fund, and instead have children (5:14). The funds given to them from that fund were nothing less than payment for sexual services rendered; but it was all dressed up under a Christian guise. If the young widows of 1 Timothy are the same women here addressed, they may not have been that many- for there were not that many young widows in the congregation, surely, who were engaging in this activity. It may have been as few as four or five, but surely not more than 20. But all the same- it was a huge problem, as it involved a considerable number of male Christians in the church.

With bashfulness and sobriety; not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing- 'Goddess Diana' earrings feature pearls in gold; all this is the language of Diana, goddess of the Ephesians, with whom Paul was dealing.

2:10 But apparel which becomes women professing reverence towards God through good works- Rev. 19:8 likewise speaks of the apparel of the saints as good works. But their apparel is granted to them by Christ; it is His good works which are counted to them. "Good works" is a term used several times by Paul to Timothy. It is used twice about women in the church (1 Tim. 5:10). Perhaps the sisters felt they were not a fundamental part of the church or had no meaningful part to play. Here again in 2:10 Paul is urging the women towards being proactive, to get involved with "good works" which backed up their prayers for the spread of the Gospel to "all men"; rather than dressing themselves up in the belief that thereby they would somehow make the prayers of the men more acceptable with God. Some conservative Protestant churches of our age have come not too far away from this very kind of position, and need the same call to action. Significantly, the Lord's letter to the Ephesian church in Rev. 2 commends them for their good works, and for how they have resisted false teachers. So it would seem that Timothy's ministry was successful; all Paul's challenging, rebuking and encouraging of him actually paid off. We can easily get the impression that such appeals for change and improvement never really achieved anything, but the Lord's letter to the Ephesians seems to indicate that in Timothy's case, the letters we are reading did indeed bear fruit in his response.

2:11 Let a woman learn- Judaism discouraged women from learning or studying the Scriptures. Perhaps Timothy was caught up with that pressure; and Paul urges him to let the women learn. As noted on :10, it would seem that the sisters were not being encouraged to see themselves as in personal relationship with the Lord or to be proactive in their faith and works. 

In quietness with all subjection- I read this in the context of Paul's concern that all the argument about abstract interpretation in the Ephesian church had led to a lack of "quietness". See on 2:8 Or argument. The men couldn't pray properly without bringing in the various arguments which were ongoing in the church (:8); and the women likewise couldn't learn without being tempted to be distracted by the background noise. The teacher from whom the women were to learn was Timothy. That is the context of 1 Timothy. He was to teach, and Paul wished him to include the women as his students; and they were to be allowed a learning environment free from background noise distraction. That is a perfectly valid meaning for the word translated "silence" or "quietness".

2:12- see on 1 Cor. 14:34.

I do not permit- The Greek suggests 'I have not given over / transferred'. Paul could here be answering a claim made about him, as he often does in his letters.

A woman to teach nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in submission- It is clear that in some contexts, women did publicly teach in the early church. We think of Philip's daughters (Acts 21:9) and the command that female teachers should do so with covered heads in the Corinth ecclesia (1 Cor. 11:4-6). It could be that they were not to teach at some meetings, perhaps the breaking of bread meeting, but they could at others. Or it could be that the commands we are reading in 1 Cor. 14 about female silence were specific to Corinth, these in 1 Tim. 2 were specific and context limited to Ephesus; whereas in other areas, such as Philip's church, it was allowed. But I suggest that here in 1 Tim. 2 we are reading Paul's commands to Timothy in Ephesus where there was a specific threat to the church from Judaist infiltrators and false teachers. Timothy was being told by Paul to pull himself together, take responsibility, and secure the platform in the church, not allowing the Judaists to teach. I have sought to demonstrate that in commentary on chapter 1 and elsewhere. Perhaps it was that some very pushy Jewish women were insisting on teaching their Judaistic teachings in the church, claiming that Paul had allowed them to do so when he was in Ephesus. Paul is saying that he has not permitted them to do that; and he is telling Timothy to ensure they do not teach because as Judaist influenced believers, they were like Eve in Eden, deceived by the serpent. And Paul has used that very figure elsewhere in describing how the early converts likewise were as Eve in Eden but prone to be deceived by the serpent of Judaism (Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3). Paul wants Timothy to do the teaching- not any Judaists, including women. This interpretation would fit the context seamlessly. Otherwise, why would Paul suddenly start talking about the place of women, when his letter to this point has been concerned with Judaist false teaching? He is urging that these female false teachers should not be given the platform. They should be in submission to the teaching of the true teachers.

2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve- See comment on 2:12. Paul wants Timothy to do the teaching, perhaps setting him up as Adam; the group of Judaist women wanting to teach were as Eve. The emphasis upon Adam being formed first and Eve being the one deceived may be in order to challenge a particular wrong emphasis or teaching within the church at Ephesus. The commentary on chapter 1 has surely established that the church was under threat from Judaists. But we also know from Acts that many former worshippers of Diana were in the church. The pull of paganism would always be significant. We have deduced from :9 that some women within the church believed that their part in prayer was in dressing up with the same opulence as Diana. It could be that wrong Jewish speculations about Eve were mixed with pagan ideas about Diana. This kind of Jewish-pagan synthesis was what led to the doctrine of the trinity. Perhaps this is why Paul here draws their attention to Eve's weakness, and Adam's primacy in creation. Reading this teaching about women in its context, it would seem to me that Paul is tackling some specific group of women in the church who were advocating a quite wrong attitude to prayer, and who were glorifying unspirituality.

2:14- see on Rom. 5:12.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression- These female false teachers were misinterpreting the story of Eve, and adding to it various Jewish myths. And so Paul alludes to it and shows them what it really means, and how by associating themselves with Eve, they are condemning themselves. As Eve was deceived by the serpent, so believers were being deceived by false teaching (s.w. Eph. 5:6 "let no man deceive you with vain words"). Eve, then, contrary to Jewish ideas and myths (1:4), was not to be glorified and pretended to. Nor was she to be crossed with Diana. She was deceived, just as they had been by false teachers. And Timothy was to challenge and correct this. Note that the same word for "deceived" is used about the deceit of Jewish false teachers in Col. 2:8 and 2 Pet. 2:13. Note that Paul is not saying that Eve 'transgressed' and Adam did not. He uses the very same word about Adam's transgression in Rom. 5:14. He is saying that Eve fell into the transgression through having been deceived; whereas Adam, it would therefore seem, entered into the transgression clearly understanding what he was doing.

2:15 But she shall be saved through the child-bearing- Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, there is no article here. No reference is being made to "the child bearing", as if the birth of Messiah is in view. The sentence continues "If they continue in faith..."- so the reference is to plural women and not to the singular woman, Mary, who bore the Lord Jesus. And the salvation of Mary or women generally is surely not just because Mary was the channel for the Lord's birth. Likewise, general child-bearing is not the salvation of women.

We must look for the answer to this apparently strange statement in the context. And a glance at standard reference works (such as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia edited by James Orr) reveals that the priestesses of Diana / Artemis in Ephesus "were all virgins". They did not have children because they were devoted to Diana; even although some of them slept with the worshippers, they aborted their children conceived as a result of this. Such abortion was common amongst temple prostitutes of many cults, but was apparently particularly enforced in the worship of Diana at Ephesus. Paul is saying that the group of sisters in the Ephesian church who were acting like these priestesses, claiming to make the prayers of males acceptable (:9), acting like mediators rather than accepting the one mediator (:5), dressing up in luxurious clothing in imitation of the Jewish Eve cult and the pagan Diana cult... these women were not to teach. Their influence was to be cut off by Timothy. They were to have children, and not abort them, and not to denigrate child-bearing. And they were to realize that Eve was not a heroine to be pretended to in that she sinned, was deceived by false teaching- as they had been. Instead they were to copy her in moving on after she realized her sin- by doing what first century women generally did, child-bearing. But with the difference that they were to raise a Godly seed, doing this work in faith and Godliness. Paul is advising this group of Ephesian women to get on and have children rather than imitate the Diana cult priestesses by not having children. The only other time the Greek word for "child-bearing" occurs is in 1 Tim. 5:14, where a group of young widows in the Ephesian church are advised to "bear children" and focus on leading their families- rather than giving the enemy an opportunity. Perhaps this same group are being referenced here. A group of young widows were becoming attracted to the cults of both Eve and Diana. Paul didn't want Timothy allowing them to teach, and he advises them to settle down and have children rather than playing at being priestesses.

So it would seem to me that Paul is addressing a particular group of women in Ephesus, and is advising Timothy how to deal with them. Those women are probably those referenced in 2 Tim. 3:6, influenced by false teachers "that creep into houses [house churches] and take captive weak minded women laden with sins, led away by various lusts". Timothy had been charged to stop and root out this false teaching, as it was particularly influencing the sisters. But Paul is not making global statements about women and their place. For as pointed out, there is New Testament evidence of other [more Godly] women speaking and teaching in the churches.

If they continue in faith, love and sanctification with sobriety- These terms are used elsewhere about men as well. So there is no intention of telling all women globally how they as women must behave. Instead of their involvement in the behaviour discussed above, these women in Ephesus were to focus upon the positive spiritual attributes required of all believers, male or female. Paul uses the same words translated here "continue in faith" in saying that God continues faithful (2 Tim. 2:13); His abiding faithfulness to us is to result in our abiding faithfulness to Him. This same idea of mutuality between God and man, whereby we both trust in each other, has just been used by Paul in 1:12 [see note there].