Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Posted by Dim Bulb on September 17, 2010
The Apostle, after instructing Timothy in the preceding chapter concerning the mode in which he should guard the purity of doctrine, devotes this chapter to his instruction, as regards the manner of arranging the public offices and prayers of the faithful. He points out the persons for whom prayers ought to be offered, and assigns the reason of praying for such (1-7). He shows, in the next place, where it is, that prayer can be offered up (8); and he treats of the manner in which women should appear in the public
assebnilies of the faithful (9-14). Finally, he points out the occupations whereby women can save their souls (15).
1Ti 2:1 I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men:
“Therefore,” shows the connection of this chapter with the preceding. It may
regard chap. 1:15, “Christ came to save sinners,” or, verse 18, “that thou war in them a good warfare,” or, more probably, both. “Therefore,” in order to co-operate with Christ in saving sinners, and to “fight the good fight;” in a word, in order to discharge the Episcopal functions, according to the prophecies made regarding thee. “I desire.” The Greek word, ,παρακαλέω (parakaleō) means either a wish, or a command. “First of all,” because, all good things come to us through prayer; and prayer is the principal duty of a bishop. “That supplications, prayers, intercessions,” which some persons
regard as a rhetorical amplification, signifying the same thing. They are commonly, however, supposed to bear different significations. Supplications, or, as the Greek has it, deprecations, prayers, offered for averting evils.
“Prayers,” or as the Greek has it, obsecrations, offered up for the purpose of obtaining blessings. “Intercessions,” prayers for others, particularly for our enemies; and “thanksgivings,” for benefits received. All the Fathers and Commentators say, these are to be understood of the public prayers of the Church, and St. Augustine (59 £p. ad Paulinuum) and St. Thomas refer them to the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass and its different parts, which shows the antiquity of the Mass, its different parts being, in the days of St. Augustine, the same as they are at the present day. “For all men,” without exception,
believers and unbelievers.
1Ti 2:2 For kings and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.
“For kings,” even Pagans ; for, the kings then existing were Pagan, “and all
that are in high stations,” i.e., for their ministers, and all who have a share in the government of the state. The ministerial power is but an emanation of the regal dignity, which latter is a ray and participation of the divine Majesty. “That we may lead a quiet,” &:c. All Christians should pray that God would inspire their rulers with the spirit of wisdom and justice, because the peace of the Church depends on the wisdom of her temporal rulers. “In all piety and chastity,” or, as in the Greek, σεμνότης (semnotēs), gravity. This is the end for which we should desire peace, not to indulge in luxury, but to practise with greater facility the duties of religion and morality, both of which are greatly injured during the calamities of war.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour
“For this,” i.e., to pray for all “is good” in itself, “and acceptable in the sight
of God our Saviour,” the reason of which he assigns next verse, because, in this, we conform to the will of God.
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
“Who will have all men to be saved.” God wishes the salvation of all men
without exception (for, “he is unwilling that any should perish”—St. Peter, 2 3:9.), “and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” this being the necessary means for salvation.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God: and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:
In this verse is assigned a reason why God sincerely wishes the salvation of all, viz., because they are all equally his creatures, and he has given to all the same supreme Mediator, the Man-God, Christ, who uniting in himself the nature of God and man, can most efficaciously interpose with outraged heaven in behalf of sinful mortals. In this the Apostle strikes at the errors of Simon Magus, who asserted that it was through the angels, and not through Christ, we should approach God. These errors were circulated at Ephesus, of which Timothy was chief Pastor. It was for the same reason that the Apostle says in his Epistle to the Ephesians (3:12), that it is by Christ we have access to God, because he is our principal Mediator and Intercessor. It is needless to say, that there is not the shadow of objection here against the Catholic doctrine and practice on the subject of the invocation of saints. For, as is clear from the entire context, the Apostle speaks of Christ, as Mediator of redemption; he paid the ransom and set us free, and he alone could do so. The saints, according to the teaching of Catholics, are only mediators of intercession, mediators in a secondary degree, subordinate to Christ, who alone is Mediator of Redemption.”-(See 1John 2:2).
Simply put, the Saints intercede only in virtue of Christ the Mediator:
it says that this holy Lady, coming up from the desert flowing with delights (see Song of Songs 8:5), is leaning upon her beloved. This is the last word in all the praises that the Church holily gives to the saints, and above all to the Virgin. For we always refer them to the honor of her Son by whose strength and virtue she ascends to receive the plenitude of delights. Have you not noticed that the Queen of Sheba, in bearing so many precious things to Jerusalem, offered them all to Solomon? Ah, all the saints do the same, and particularly the Virgin. All her perfections, all her virtues, all her happiness are referred, consecrated and dedicated to the glory of her Son, who is their source, their author and finisher (see Heb 12:2). Soli Deo honor et gloria: “To the only God be glory and honor” (1 Tim 1:17). All returns to this point.
If she is holy who has sanctified her if not her Son? If she is saved, who is her Saviour if not her Son? “Leaning upon her beloved:” All her felicity is founded on the mercy of her Son. You would name our Lady a lily of purity and innocence? Yes, she is that in truth. But this lily has its whiteness from the Blood of the Lamb in which she has been purified, like the robes of those who have washed them white in the Blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14). If you call her a rose because of her most excellent charity, her color will be only the blood of her Son. If you say that she is a column of smoke, sweet and pleasing (Song of Songs 3:6), Say at once that the fire of this smoke is the charity of her Son; the wood is his cross. In brief, in all and through all she is leaning upon her beloved. ~St Francis De Sales.
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.
The (keek word for “redemption,” ἀντίλυτρον (antilutron), means not only giving a price, but a vicarious, substitutional price, head for head and life for life. This clearly shows in what sense “Christ Jesus” is termed the “one Mediator” by the Apostle; it is as Redeemer, who ransomed us on the cross, and offered himself as a victim, in our stead, and to say there could be any other such Mediator, would be the rankest blasphemy. This, of course, is by no means opposed to—what is quite a different thing—the mediation of saints, according to Catholic doctrine. “A testimony in due times,” is understood by some to mean, that this substitution of himself by Christ for us is the doctrine to be taught and preached—a doctrine to which testimony is to be borne in
due time. The Apostle thus intimates through Timothy to all the Pastors of the Church what the great theme of their preaching should be, viz., “Christ crucified.” The interpretation in the Paraphrase is the one more commonly received.
It would be out of place to enter here into a discussion of the several scholastic questions regarding the will of God to save all, which are raised by interpreters on the foregoing passage. Let it suffice simply to remark, that it is clear from the words themselves and the entire context, that God sincerely and truly wishes the salvation of all men (verse 5) without exception. For, the Apostle tells us to pray for all men without exception (verse 1). Why? Because, it is pleasing to God that we should do so (verse 3). And why is this pleasing to God? Because, it is conformable to his will, “since he wishes all to be saved ” (verse 4). Now, unless he wished all to be saved without exception, it would not be conformable to his will, that we should pray for the salvation of all, without exception. In a word, the Apostle gives the will of God for the salvation of all, as the rule of our will in the same respect, and as a motive to induce us to will it. We have, moreover, the same truth announced in a negative form by St. Peter.—(2 Pet 3:9). “God is unwilling that any should perish.” And here it is said that “he wishes all to be saved.” Hence, any interpretation, that restricts this universal will in God, is to be rejected. The interpretation of Estius is quite opposed to the context. He maintains, that God wishes the salvation of all, because he inspires us with the wish, just as
“the spirit asketh for us with unspeakable groans.”—(Rom. 8:26.) Because he makes us ask, &c. This interpretation is opposed to the context. For why should the Apostle exhort us to wish for the salvation of all, if God makes us wish for it already?
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle (I say the truth, I lie not), a doctor of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
“Whereunto,” i.e., to preach which testimony regarding the will of God to save
all, or, according to others, regarding “Christ crucified.” (“I lie not, I say the
truth “). The Greek adds, in Christ. These words are employed to silence the cavils of some who questioned his Apostleship. “Doctor of the Gentiles in faith and truth,” may also mean a true and faithful doctor of the Gentiles.
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up pure hands, without anger and contention.
Having pointed out, verse 1, the objects of prayer, and verse 2, the persons for whom we should pray, he now, as Apostle of the Gentiles, points out the place where we are to pray, viz., “in every place” suited for public prayer, of which he here speaks. Hence, it is not confined to the Jewish synagogues, nor to the temple of Jerusalem. “Anger and contention,” or animosity towards each other, are vices peculiar to men. “Pure hands,” mean, consciences free from guilt. It is not so much physical or bodily ablutions, as moral purity he requires.