Monday, February 20, 2023

2023.02.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 2:8–10

Read 1 Timothy 2:8–10

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the apostle desire would pray (1 Timothy 2:8)? In what places? Lifting what? Without what two things? What does 1 Timothy 2:9 say about the desire in this verse? Whom does this desire concern? And what aspect of their life? What three principles govern their adornment? What four examples, at the time, were violating that principle? What about them makes it inappropriate to dress in a showy or unrestrained way (1 Timothy 2:10)? What is the proper adornment for women who profess godliness?  

What are some things for men and women especially to concern themselves with in the church? 1 Timothy 2:8–10 helps us prepare for the season of prayer in the Midweek Meeting. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that men are to be men of prayer for godliness, and women are to be women of the godliness for which we pray.

Men of prayer for godliness, 1 Timothy 2:8. The word ‘men’ in 1 Timothy 2:8 is specific to males. Of course, women were included in the exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:1. But now, 1 Timothy 2:8-12 are dealing with a corporate context. Proper order in the church isn’t limited to church officers, to which the apostle will come in chapter 3. So it is the men in every place who lift up their hands in prayer, something that is not connected to the modern self-expression that you might have seen in churches, but to the worship-leading described in Psalm 134:1–2. And men who do so need to be of the character that we have seen described in 1 Timothy 2:2

They are holy men—men of godliness (treating God as weighty in the heart) and reverence (carrying themselves in a weighty, dignified manner). So, when they lift up hands, when they lead in prayer, they do so as men whose holy conduct is observable in the life and whose reverence toward God can be heard in their praying. And they are men who lead quiet lives (without wrath) and peaceable lives (without doubting). Their praying is not showy but steady, not anxious but sure of God. Even as such men aim at the church’s godliness in their praying, they are already examples of that godliness.

Women of the godliness for which we pray1 Timothy 2:9-10. Women tend to focus upon how they are adorned. This is not altogether bad, since it is proper for a woman to “wow” her husband (Adam’s first word in Genesis 2:23), and the mystery of marriage concerns Christ and the church (cf. Ephesians 5:27, Ephesians 5:32), who is at last as a bride adorned for her husband (cf. Revelation 21:2). So the impulse to think about adornment is not entirely wrong, only usually misdirected.

Ultimately, one’s adornment should match one’s status. And a Christian woman has a status higher than any worldly royalty or socialite: “women professing godliness.” The only adornment that can rise to the level of being appropriate for such a status is “good works.” The word for ‘good’ in 1 Timothy 2:10—a word often associated with the goodness of God—is a higher word than the one in 1 Timothy 3:1

These good works are not done in the assembly. Rather, as men lift their hands and lead with heir words, the women are contributing to the prayer by the very-precious-to-God hidden person of the heart that commends the praying to Him in Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:3–4). If a woman has not been living this way, with good works toward others as the fruit of a good heart toward God, she has come to church underdressed!

Of course, such character will actually come out in how she dresses and does her hair. The principles here are described by words in 1 Timothy 2:9 translated modesty (the Greek word means “suitable” or “orderly”), propriety (respecting others rather than drawing attention to themselves), and moderation (sensible, wise, judicious, restrained). Such attire seeks to draw as little attention to itself as possible. This seems to have been a needed correction to the hairdos, jewelry, and expensive outfits displayed by some ladies in Ephesus! It may also be a needed correction for women who underdress in a manner that draws attention. There is such a thing as religiously immodest, intentional homeliness of dress.

All need must remember that the church aims at God in its gatherings, and what He loves to see is the godliness at which He has taught us to aim by our praying. And each of us help others aim at Him by drawing as little as possible attention to ourselves.

At Whom should you be aiming your conduct in the church? What does this passage say that you, specifically, need to be working at in order to do so? Whom else will He help by your doing so?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You desire holiness in our hearts, lives, and church gatherings. Forgive our men for acting as if we can live obnoxiously and wrathfully, or anxiously and doubtingly, and then come lead prayer acceptably in the church. Forgive our women for thinking more about the adornments upon which others focus than the adornments upon which You focus. Forgive us all for focusing upon ourselves rather than loving You and one another. Conform us instead to Christ, Who has loved You perfectly, and loved us perfectly, and perfectly pleased You in all things. In His Name we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH520 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” 

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