Summary: Year C. Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 23, 2001 Title: “We give up hope on no one.” 1Timothy 2: 1-7
Year C. Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 23, 2001
Title: “We give up hope on no one.” 1Timothy 2: 1-7
Paul always taught sound doctrine that guides individuals, right conduct, the “is,” what is from God’s side, forms the basis for the “ought,” what ought to be from the human side. In the text before us he spells out what right conduct looks like when the doctrine of “God wills the salvation of all” is applied to prayer, to rulers, and to conduct at worship. One’s conduct must flow from the truth, morals from doctrine.
In verse one, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone.” This may mean first in a sequence or first in importance. Since what is first in a sequence is also usually first in importance, this phrase should be taken to mean both.
“Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings.” The first three words are various terms for prayers of petition. The nuances of meaning should not be pressed here. The point is that prayer is paramount. In the settled atmosphere of a Church at relative peace with the civil authorities, missionary effort and zeal take the form of praying for those not yet saved. Of course, the good example of Christians has its effect on non-believers, but prayer is essential to keep the proper perspective. The author reminds his audience not to neglect thanksgiving for petitions granted. Both types of prayer should be present in any formal session with God.
“Be made for everyone.” “All” or “everyone” appears frequently in this passage, perhaps to counteract the error that salvation is for but a few elite.
In verse two, “for kings and all who are in high positions,” in Rome the emperor was called only “Emperor” or “Lord” but not “King.” In the provinces, however, “king” was a common term for him and even for lesser authorities. The British still use this type of language. The Pastoral Epistles take a passive position on civil authorities and government. They do not counsel interfering with or trying to influence public policy by means of organized pressure. They know Christians are sojourners. All they ask of civil authority is for the Church to live in peace and function freely. Yet, Christians are to pray for the king’s and lesser authorities’ personal salvation. Whatever public good order civil authorities can maintain contribute to the benefit of the spread and practice of a now rather settled-down Christian religion.
“So that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” In effect, Christians are counseled to ignore public policy as such and concentrate on living a life consistent with Christian principles, a life likely to attract others to the faith. “Quiet” translates the Greek eremos, from which we get “hermit.” The word here does not stress “solitary” but “untroubled from without.” If the Romans can produce external peace, the Christians should take advantage of it to experience internal peace. If external peace, and Roman roads, allows the ministry of the word to be spread, internal peace allows the word to be deeply embedded. “Tranquil” translates the Greek hesuchios, “quiet” and bolsters the meaning of eremos.