This chapter deals primarily with the public worship of the church. The two principal parts of public worship are the ministry of the Word and prayer. In chapter 1 Paul dealt with the ministry of the true gospel; now he calls on us to pray.
Vs. 1. When the Church meets for prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, we pray not only for ourselves, our families, our friends, but for "all men," even our enemies. We offer "supplications" petitions for material and spiritual needs; "prayers" representing the spirit of devotion and good wishes; "intercession" pleading on behalf of another, and "giving of thanks" the element that should characterize all prayer. Prayer would not be acceptable if only offered for ourselves! This is not the spirit of love and grace. Prayer is not to be made for those in hell, to whom it would be of no service, nor for those in heaven, who have no need of it, nor for those who have sinned the sin unto death (I John 5:16), but for all sorts of men, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, believers and unbelievers, moral and immoral. We understand from the following verses, from our Lord's prayer in John 17:9, and from I Timothy 1:20 that the exhortation is for us to pray for all sorts of men, of every rank, station, calling or condition.
Vs. 2. Prayer by the church is especially to be made for rulers, governors and those in places of authority in the country, for they wield great power for good or evil - they can preserve or disturb "the peace of a country and they can protect or destroy the lives and property of men! Why pray for them?
Vs. 3-7. In these verses Paul gives reasons why we should pray for those mentioned above.
1. This is good and acceptable in the sight of our God and Saviour, who is the Saviour of all men in the way of providence and the Saviour of the elect in the way of special grace (I Tim. 4:10).
2. It is the will of God that all sorts of men be saved and come to a knowledge of Christ. Our Lord has a people in every nation, tongue and kindred. Do you suppose the early church prayed for Saul of Tarsus? It was God's will to save him.
3. There is but one true and living God whom, if any man is to be saved, he must know. There is but one Mediator through whom, if any man is to approach God for mercy, he must come (John 14:6).
4. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross and made an atonement for sin, this sacrifice and atonement was made for all sorts of men, for men of all nations, for Gentiles as well as Jews, for rich and poor (I John 2:2).
5. The apostle is a preacher of the gospel to the Gentile as well as to the Jew, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth!
Vs. 8. In this verse the apostle's instruction concerning public prayer takes notice of men. It is the duty of all believers to pray, but because he is speaking of public prayer in the church, he says men everywhere are to pray with a forgiving, loving spirit and in faith! "Lifting up the hands" was an outward symbol of the elevation of the heart to God. "Holy hands" would indicate sincerity and purity of attitude and motive before God (Mark 11:25,26).
Vs. 9, 10. Though women are not to conduct public worship, pray publicly or teach in the assembly, yet they are to join with the whole church in prayer. For public worship a woman should be dressed in apparel which is not showy, conspicuous, suggestive or extreme, nor dress in such a way as to attract the eyes of others or lift up her own heart in pride. There should be no excessive arrangement of the hair or decoration of the body with gold, pearls and jewelry to attract attention. Women, as well as men, should realize that true beauty and adornment are not the adornment of the body but the right ordering of the heart!
Vs. 11, 12. Women are not to teach, preach, lead in prayer, or have a voice in the business affairs of the church. They are to be learners, not teachers, in subjection to their husbands and to the ministers of the Word (I Cor. 14:34, 35). Women may pray, teach and instruct other women and children (Titus 2:3; Prov. 1:8).Vs.13, 14. The seasons the apostle gives for women being silent in the affairs of the church and the worship of the Lord are found in the original law of the relation of woman to man before God.
1. Man's headship in creation (I Cor. 11:3, 8,9; Eph. 5:23). The woman, by divine rule, is in subjection to her husband, and any attempt by her to assume the part of the head or instructor is to overturn God's order.
2. Woman's priority in transgression. Man was not deceived; the woman was! She confessed that the serpent beguiled her, thereby suggesting her inferiority to man in strength; knowledge and wisdom. Her subjection to the man is more greatly imposed since the Fall.
Vs.15. Nevertheless, the pain and distress put upon women in child-bearing does not hinder their souls' salvation. They shall be saved eternally if they continue in faith. God's blessings are upon women in their true sphere, that of motherhood, home life and godliness. But perhaps the reference here is to the salvation of all believers through the divine Child to he born of woman - the Lord Jesus Christ.