PRAY + MORE: It's often hard enough to pray for our political leaders, but today's open verse says that praying is just the beginning. It lists three other things we must be doing for "kings and all those in authority (v2)."
Make petitions: make specific requests to God for our leaders.
Intercede: to plead the cause of our leaders before God.
Give thanksgiving: We're very quick to criticize our leaders, but we also fail to realize the way God blesses us through the actions our leaders.
DOES GOD WANT ALL PEOPLE OR JUST THE ONES HE'S CHOSEN TO BE SAVED? Yes (to both). It's hard to put it any more plainly than Paul does in v4. Yes, for sure "God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (v4)." Yet it remains clear that the only way salvation comes is by the "one mediator... the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all (v5-6)." The problem is that our hearts are so mired in sin that unless the Holy Spirit softens our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, we will constantly reject this mediator, and though God does want all to claim Christ, in His own wisdom He has only given this regenerating Spirit to those He's chosen. Praise God that He's chosen you to know Christ.
WOMEN'S LIBERATION: Paul makes an unpopular command to Timothy in v11 to not permit women to take authoritative rolls in the church. But even in making this prohibition, Paul affirms the value of women as equal image bearers of God: "A woman should learn... (v11)." We've seen the important role women played both in Jesus' life and in Paul's ministry, and although God has prescribed an order for His church that differs from modern society, the Bible does not treat women as inferior beings with nothing to add to the life of the church.
WHY THIS BUT NOT THAT? A couple of months ago when we Dug Deeper into 1 Corinthians 11, we concluded that the prohibition against braided hair Paul gave to the Corinthians was limited to women living in the first century because of the way they braided hair back then utilized lots of glittering jewels and was associated with a very un-Christian lifestyle. We can make this conclusion because the Bible just doesn't have that much to say about hairstyles outside of these two passages. So it's a fair question to ask why faithful churches make Paul's commands to Timothy in v11-15 applicable to churches in all times and places. Why can't we just set this aside the way we do with hairstyles?
A big reason is the way Paul ties this command back to Adam and Eve (v13). God created the man and women as equal image bearers of Himself (Gen 2:27), but yet He gave Adam a responsibility that He did not give to Eve. Clearly it was Eve who was deceived, (v14 & Gen 3), yet throughout the Bible it's referred to Adam's sin (especially Romans 5) because Adam was responsible. This pattern of male headship is consistent throughout both the Old & New Testaments, spanning thousands of years, and multiple cultures and languages. So when Paul gives a command to the young Pastor Timothy (and Pastor Titus as well as we'll see in a few weeks) that's in line with what's seen in every other part of the Bible, we must adhere to it as well, no matter how much it seems to conflict with our twenty-first century sensibilities.
Many modern churches have turned their back upon this unpopular command, but Biblically faithful churches continue to hold women in the highest esteem and respect and profit much from their contributions to the church, but at the same time follow the pattern reinforced by Paul and limit the offices of the church (pastors, elders & deacons) to men.