Guidance for church worship regarding prayer. Also addressed is Jesus is the perfect mediator, the only mediator between humans and God.
1 Timothy Chapter 2
Encourage prayer for Others
1 Therefore, first of all, I strongly urge that entreaties, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
[Paul lists four types of prayers. The Greek word for ‘entreaties’ is δέησις déēsis (G1162). It means a personal plea, so entreaty as in please help me, please help my friend, etc. See Luke 1:13 (Zacharias prays for his wife) and Romans 10:1 (Paul praying for his fellow Jews to believe in Jesus). The Greek word for ‘prayers’ is προσευχή proseuchḗ (G4335). It means prayer as in talking to God, a conversation with God. See Luke 6:12 (Jesus praying all night) and Acts 10:4 (Cornelius). The Greek word for ‘intercessions’ is ἔντευξις énteuxis (G1783). It means a plea to an authority to help someone else. The Greek word for ‘thanksgivings’ is εὐχαριστία eucharistía (G2169). It means thanking another, especially an authority, for his/her help. See Acts 24:3, 2 Corinthians 9:12, and Revelation 4:9. We are to pray for all people, not just our family, or friends, or fellow church members, but also to pray for our enemies, leaders, etc. So, see next verse].
2 For kings and all in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in total godliness and honesty.
[We are to pray to be able to live freely as Christians].
3 For this is right and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
[Note how Paul emphasizes to Timothy the importance of the Gospel in the next few verses, and what it is. Let us all know this standard—the standard of the Gospel well. It is correct and acceptable to pray for non-Christians whether in government or society. See Matthew 5:44, Proverbs 24:17, and Romans 12:20. Part of the reason is we were evil, too and under God’s wrath (Colossians 1:21)].
4 Who wants all people to be saved and come into an acknowledgment of truth.
[‘All people’ means all people without exception. It is strange that some identify this with just certain select individuals, but the context warrants any and all. God wants (literally wills) two things—all humans to be saved and all humans to come to an acknowledging of truth. Truth particularly regarding salvation but in general having, living, and seeking truth in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds both public and in private. God initiates salvation for all humans by opening their mind and heart to the truth of that individual—they are a vile sinner. God frees the will. Once freed, the individual can accept or reject, believe or not believe, yield or refuse. God does not force, compel, or decree anyone to believe. In his comments on Matthew 26:28, Adam Clarke writes:
It is well known that the Jewish dispensation, termed by the apostle as above, η παλαια διαθηκη, the Old covenant, was partial and exclusive. None were particularly interested in it save the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob: whereas the Christian dispensation, η καινη διαθηκη, the New covenant, referred to by our Lord in this place, was universal; for as Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for Every man, Hebrews 2:9, and is that Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the World, John 1:29, who would have All Men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Timothy 2:4, even that knowledge of Christ crucified, by which they are to be justified, Isaiah 53:11, therefore he has commanded his disciples to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to Every Creature, Mark 16:15. The reprobate race, those who were no people, and not beloved, were to be called in; for the Gospel was to be preached to all the world, though it was to begin at Jerusalem, Luke 24:47. For this purpose was the blood of the new covenant sacrifice poured out for the multitudes, that there might be but one fold, as there is but one Shepherd; and that God might be All and in All.
The Greek word for ‘saved’ is (G4982) σώζω sozo. It means rescue, keep from harm, and saved (BDAG). It includes saved from death—Matthew 24:22, Acts 27:20, and Matthew 26:25; bring out of death safety—Hebrews 5:7; saved from disease, death, and demon possession—Mark 6:56, Luke 8:50, and Mark 5:34; from the wrath of God—John 3:36 and Romans 5:9. ‘Acknowledging truth’ is the idea that previously truth was suppressed (Romans 1:18). The Holy Spirit convicted them of their sins and their mind was opened. At that point, one can believe or refuse to believe, acknowledge the truth or suppress it again].
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and people, the man Christ Jesus,
[There are not many gods or mediators. There is one God, and there is all of humanity. There is one mediator between us and God—Jesus Christ. The Greek word for ‘mediator’ is μεσίτης mesítēs (G3316). It means a person who can speak to both parties. This mediator could not be any human because humans are defiled by sin. Jesus is sinless. Jesus is God, and Jesus is a man. The perfect mediator and savior. Compare Galatians 3:19-20 (Moses) and Hebrews 8:6, 9:15, and 12:24 (Jesus)].
6 Who gave himself as a ransom for all, [this was] the testimony in its proper time.
[Prayers for all people. Prayers for all in authority. God desires all people to be saved. The man Christ Jesus the ransom for all. This doesn’t mean all are saved, for God made conditions to be saved. The Greek word for ransom is ἀντίλυτρον antílytron (G487). It means what is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption (Thayer). Compare Matthew 20:28 (where a similar word is used—λύτρον lýtron (G3083) and means ‘the ransom price.’ Robertson (WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT) gives this information about λύτρον lýtron (G3083): The word translated “ransom” is the one commonly employed in the papyri as the price paid for a slave who is then set free by the one who bought him, the purchase money for manumitting slaves]. Robertson then adds this about our passage (verse 6—here): There is the notion of exchange also in the use of anti. Jesus gave his own life as the price of freedom for the slaves of sin. There are those who refuse to admit that Jesus held this notion of a substitutionary death because the word in the N.T. occurs only here and the corresponding passage in Mark 10:45. But that is an easy way to get rid of passages that contradict one’s theological opinions. Jesus here rises to the full consciousness of the significance of his death for men].
7 For this I am appointed a preacher and apostle. I speak the truth in Christ. I do not lie—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.