November 3, 2011

Friday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 119:145-160, 2 Kings 1:2-17, 1 Tim. 2:1-10
Evening - Ps. 119:161-176, Job 39:19, My. 18:15

Commentary
1Timothy 2:1-10

Though chapter 2 begins a new section, it is still part of Paul's instruction to Timothy about the charge he is to give to the people and clergy of Ephesus. Instead of false teachings (1:3) and fruitless speculation about the law (1:4), Timothy is to charge them to devote themselves to prayer and Godliness. The prayers of verses 1 and 2 follow the ancient liturgies, and Paul probably had them in mind as he wrote these verses. Note the similarity between verse 2 and the Liturgy of St. Mark as quoted in the Pulpit Commentary;

"Preserve our king in peace, in virtue, and righteousness... incline him to peace towards us and towards thy Holy Name, that in the serenity of his reign we too may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and honesty."

Rather than their own speculations, the ministers are to remind the people of the Gospel, of the only Mediator between God and man, "who gave himself a ransom for all" (2:3-6). It is to proclaim this Gospel that Paul was ordained a preacher and Apostle (2:7). The implication is that if Paul was ordained to preach the Gospel, then the clergy of Ephesus, ordained by Paul and Timothy, were ordained to preach that same Gospel.

Verse 8 refers to the public prayers in the churches of Ephesus. "Everywhere," means, in all the congregations. "Lifting up holy hands" was the common position for prayer. Meeting in the homes of the church members, which often had only a few stools or chairs, the Christians stood for hymns, Scripture reading, and sermons, and knelt for prayer. Rather than folding their hands in front of them, they held them at their sides, chest high and palms up during prayer. They did not wave their hands or sway their bodies.

Verses 9 and 10 complete today's reading with instructions to the women to dress modestly. This, of course, includes the need to dress in ways that cover, rather than in ways intended to allure. But it also means to dress in ways that do not call attention to the cost and beauty of the apparel. "Modesty" in this sense is used the way we use it when we say, "modest means." The apparel should be adequate and comfortable, not shabby or poor. The intent of the woman is not to have people admire her, but to worship God.

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