Instructions about Public Prayer.
Importance of Prayer- 2:1-4.
In chapter 2, Paul gives instructions about public prayer. Prayer is believer’s life line to God. It is our privilege and obligation. It is not supplemental but fundamental in Christian life. The early church recognized the importance of corporate prayer ( Act 2:42; 6:4). God’s ears are tuned to our prayers (Psalms 34:15). Prayer is good and acceptable in the sight of God. Prayer includes adoration, supplication, intercession and thanksgivings. Adoration speaks of our devotion and reverence to God. Supplications are made for specific needs. Intercession is the petitions made on behalf of others. Thanksgiving is the expression of our gratitude for all God’s blessings. Prayer is universal in scope. God our Savior wants all people to saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (2:3, 4; Ezekiel 33:11; 2 pet 3:9). This does not mean that everyone will get saved finally. God loves all whom he made, despite their rejection of him (John 3:19). It remains a mystery that God remains merciful even toward those who refuse to trust Christ. Christians are obligated to pray for those in authority. The purpose of this prayer is that we may live a peaceful and quiet life without disturbance. At that time church was facing terrible persecution from Roman emperor Nero. Yet believers are commanded to pray.
There is Only One Mediator: 2:5-7.
For there in one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. To approach God in prayer we must come through Christ. He is both God and man. In Paul’s day, Gnostic religion considered angels as mediators. Today the professing church considers saints and others as mediators. Only Christ gave His life as a ransom for our sin and he is the only mediator. The death of Jesus was for the whole world. But only those who believe in His redemptive work will be saved. Christ is the only means of salvation because he is the only mediator to represent both God and man (2:5). He is the only means of salvation. Christians should therefore live godly life. Paul states that he was divinely appointed as a preacher and an apostle and a teacher to the gentiles. The primary purpose of a preacher is to proclaim the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Apostle is the one who is sent with authority to preach the gospel and plant the churches. A teacher expounds the Bible with accuracy, clarity, relevance and simplicity.
Instruction about Public Prayer in the Church: 2:8-10.
Prayer is very important and should be properly done in the church. Paul already explained the universal scope of the prayer (2:1-7). We have a mediator in heaven, Jesus Christ through whom we pray. Paul instructs men to lead public prayer in the Church, lifting their holy hands. For our prayer should be answered, we must be free from sin, anger, controversy and doubts (2:8; Psalm 24:3, 4: Isaiah 59:1, 2). It should come from hearts that have been changed by the gospel. Women should be modest in their appearance and should wear appropriate clothing when they come to worship God (2:10). They should not attract attention to themselves but God by their behavior. In God’s sight women are no way inferior to men but are equal in all respect (Gal 3:28). At the foot of cross all are equal. Those who say, Paul was a woman hater, undermine the inspiration of the Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). Women should attract others to Christ by their natural demeanor (1 Peter 3:1, 2).
God’s Order in Creation:2:11-15.
Paul wants women not to violate the roles set up by God in creation by teaching or exercising authority over men in the church context (2:11-14). Paul advises that women should listen and learn quietly with submission (2:11;1 Cor 14:34). The reference here may be to wives. Paul gives two reasons for that. This is God’s order and chain of command from creation (Gen 2:21-22). Woman was created as suitable helper for man (Gen 2:20). The second reason is that Eve was deceived first and Adam was not. Adam sinned by his own choice and not deceived. Women are vulnerable and can be easily deceived (2 Tim 3:6). However they are the heirs of eternal salvation and God’s blessings. They are permitted to teach children and young women (2 Tim 3:15; Titus 2:4). 2:15 is one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament to interpret. Scholarly interpretations vary regarding this verse. The purpose of writing this letter was to instruct the Church how men and women should behave in a dignified manner. Some suggest that Verse 15 is a reference to the incarnation of Christ as promised to Eve (Gen 3:15). “She will be saved by the birth of the Child”. Parents do have the responsibility to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. When children are lost due to parent’s neglect and worldliness, how can they be found dignified before God? God's designs are always for our good and for the sake of his glory. May God enable our dear sisters to achieve the God ordained dignity in our homes and churches.