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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2


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 assebmlies of the faithful (9–14). Finally, he points out the occupations whereby women can save their souls (15).


1. Therefore, I entreat and enjoin above all things that (in daily and public service) supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,

2. But especially for kings, and for all who, placed, in elevated stations, have charge of the public weal, that (owing to their just and wise administration) we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in the exercise of all the duties of piety, and in becoming sanctity and purity of morals.

3. For, to pray thus for all is in itself good, and acceptable to God our Saviour.

4. Who wishes that all men should be saved, and for this end, wishes that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, i.e., to Christian faith.

5. (And no wonder) for there is but one God, who is equally the Creator of all men, and one Mediator of God and men, the Man-God, Christ Jesus.

6. Who delivered himself up to death, as a vicarious, substitutional ransom for all; this giving of himself for ransom was a splendid and undoubted testimony of his will that all should be saved, given at the time marked out by the ancient prophecies.

7. To announce which testimony regarding the will of God, I solemnly and sincerely declare, I am constituted the herald and divinely commissioned legate, as well as the teacher of the Gentiles in particular, who are to be instructed in the faith and truth of the gospel.

8. I wish, therefore, that the men should pray in every place suited for prayer, with consciences pure from guilt, and exempt from the vices peculiar to men, viz., anger and animosity.

9. In like manner, I wish that women should, besides possessing the foregoing dispositions, appear at prayer in decent becoming apparel, exhibiting a chaste and modest appearance, without any extravagant fineries of dress, in braidings of the hair, or in gold, or ornaments of precious stones, or costly splendid attire.

10. But let them be chiefly ornamented with good works, as become Christian women, making piety their profession.

11. Let the women learn in silence with the utmost submission.

12. But the woman I do not permit to teach in the church, nor to exercise authority over the man. She should observe silence.

13. She should exercise no authority over the man for, the man is her superior, having been first created. And she was created after him, as a helpmate, subordinate to him.

14. She should not teach on account of her imbecility of intellect and liability to seduction, which appears from the fact, that she alone was seduced by the serpent to violate God’s precept. Adam was not seduced, but by weak compliance, yielded to the persuasion of his wife.

15. Yet, she shall be saved through the pious education of her children, provided she persevere in faith, in charity, in sanctification, in becoming self-restraint and propriety of morals.


1. “Therefore,” shows the connexion 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, παρακαλῶ, 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 Ep. ad Paulinum) 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.

2. “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, σεμνότητι, 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.

3. “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.

4. “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 Ep. 3:9), “and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” this being the necessary means for salvation.

5. 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 1 John, 2:2).

6. The Greek word for “redemption,” αντίλυτρον, 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 Ep. 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?

7. “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.

8. 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.

9. Besides the foregoing dispositions, purity of conscience, and charity; (for, these he requires in women as well as in men), the Apostle requires in women, modesty in dress, when they appear at public prayer—an excessive regard for the fineries of dress being a vice peculiar to women. He wishes them to appear in a modest, becoming dress, redolent of “modesty and sobriety.” The words, “adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety,” may also mean, putting on modesty and chastity as their chief ornaments and not indulging in extravagant topping of the hair, nor in golden headbands, armlets, ear-rings, &c., nor in the various ornaments of precious stones, &c. He plainly regards the attendance at public prayer. The ornaments and forms of female dress were, in the luxurious cities of Greece and Asia Minor, carried to great excess, and the converted females had indulged too far in this, to the scandal of the Pagans, and the injury of the faith. Hence, the severe strictures of the Apostle.—(See 1 Cor. 11; 1 Peter, 3:3). He by no means condemns those modest ornaments of female dress, suited to their dignity and station in life.—(See 1 Peter, 3:3).

10. The verse may also be interpreted thus:—But let them wear such ornaments as suit Christian women professing piety, which is to be manifested really and sincerely by good works, and not merely in words.

11. A woman should be silent in the church.—(1 Cor. 14)

12. She should not teach in the church, nor exercise authority over the man.

13. This shows, that being an inferior to man, because created after him, and as a helpmate for him, bearing to him the relation of a means to an end, she should not exercise authority over him.

14. From this it appears, that she should not teach, on account of the weakness of her mind, and her liability to seduction. Hence it was, that the serpent, knowing the weakness of the female intellect, addressed himself to her; she alone was deceived, since she alone believed the words of the serpent, uttered for the purpose of deception. Whereas, Adam prevaricated more from a weak compliance, than from any belief in the promises of the serpent, that he would become “like unto God, knowing good and evil.” And this is quite apparent from his answer to God: “The woman gave me of the tree.” Whereas, Eve said: “The serpent deceived me.”—(Gen. 3:12, 13)

15. Although the woman be not allowed to speak in the church, yet she shall have a pious occupation at home in the education of her children, and thus be saved, provided she follow not the example of Eve, but persevere in faith, charity, sanctity of morals, joined with a legitimate restraint upon the passions, even in the exercise of marriage “If she continue.” In Greek, if they continue.

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