My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, August 29, 2019
“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8 KJV).
“I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing” (ASV).
“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (NASV).
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (RSV).
“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing” (NIV).
“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (NKJV).
“So, everywhere, I want the men to do the praying, lifting up holy hands. No anger. No arguing” (IEB).
Paul begins with “I will,” “I desire,” and “I want.” He uses the Greek word boulomai which may be translated as: “Desire, Desirous, Disposed, Fain, Intend, List, Minded, Will, Would, Willing, or Wish.” That explains the differences in translation. Is Paul giving Timothy inspired instruction or his personal preferences? There is an example of Paul giving his preferences in 1 Corinthians 7:25. James appears to do it in Acts 15:19 with his expression, “my judgment” (ASV, NASV, RSV, NIV, and ESV). The IEB has “I think” which is a viable translation. Although none of the above Versions use the words disposed, fain, list, minded, will, would, willing, or wish, those words also correctly translate the Greek word boulomai. This may be why some think Paul is only giving his preference. However, some reject that possibility believing he is giving God’s absolute law concerning who may scripturally pray aloud in a mixed assembly.
“That men pray everywhere,” “men pray in every place,” “men everywhere,” and “everywhere, I want the men” to pray. Where are men to pray? “Everywhere” or “every place.” Some interpret this to mean that ONLY men are to LEAD in prayer whenever that praying is offered IN A MIXED AUDIENCE. This Law is applied to both public and private gatherings of male and females.
These prayers are to be offered by “Lifting up holy hands” or “lift up holy hands.” The prayer is to be stated without “wrath” or “anger.” and without “doubting,” “disputing,” “dissensions,” “quarreling,” or “arguing.” It is believed, by those who make this passage a pattern on prayer, that some items in this section may be ignored and substitutions introduced. The choice of what is to be bound or loosed is left with men.
Is this a “male role ONLY” law? The Bible states, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). If we accept Paul’s words as God’s command, without subtraction or addition, his desire is that men pray. Where? Everywhere. Whenever a man prays, he is to lift up holy hands without anger or doubting. The substitutions that are added to this passage are done because assumptions are needed to complete Paul’s instruction so it will fit today’s binding and loosing.
THINGS PAUL DID NOT ADD IN HIS LETTER TO TIMOTHY:
First, Paul did not say “ONLY” men are to pray everywhere and “ONLY” men are to lift up holy hands without anger or doubting. If so, women are excluded from all that this passage states.
Second, Paul did not say “I desire therefore that ONLY the men who LEAD prayer are to LEAD everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” If so, ONLY the leaders are required to lift up holy hands, while the listening men are exempt.
Third, Paul did not say, ““I desire therefore that WHEN WOMEN ARE PRESENT, ONLY the men are to pray IN the WORSHIP assembly and OUTSIDE that assembly, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Neither did he say, “I desire therefore that WHEN WOMEN ARE PRESENT, that men LEAD all prayers in that everywhere place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” In either case, someone is left out and the specifics leave us with a limited and very small group that are to do what it says.
Fourth, if verse 8 authorizes ONLY men to pray (LEAD everywhere), then a man (or husband) would not be authorized to be in the presence of the female (mother, wife or daughter) when she is engaged in payer. If he was with them, it would be his scriptural obligation to LEAD that prayer or be in transgression for refusing to do so. He would need to exit their presence for them to engage in scriptural praying.
Fifth, if the expression “men pray” means “men LEAD prayer,” then when scripture states “woman. . .prays,” she would be leading those prayers. This would include all who are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:4-15. Some students believe 1 Corinthians 11 is a meeting OUTSIDE the “worship” assembly. If so, then you have authority for a woman to lead prayer and prophesy when she wears a veil and men, who are hat-less, in those gatherings outside that restrictive WORSHIP assembly.
Sixth, God did not ADD the word LEAD to this passage. Men do by assuming it must be inserted. The subject of “LEADING” is not mentioned nor introduced in verse 8. One is forced to go to some other passage to find that subject because it cannot be found here. This passage directs both men and women when they pray. Each time the prayer must be offered “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”
Seventh, if men must literally “pray everywhere” when prayer is offered, then a woman may not pray unless a man is present to LEAD that prayer. If the verse demands ONLY and LEAD, why would it not demand that also? If the “everywhere” is not all inclusive, it would be unscriptural to make this passage teach that.
Eighth, in 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul continues with, “In like manner” (KJV, NKJV, ASV). “Likewise, I want women” (NASV). “Also, that women” (RSV). “I also want women” (NIV). “In the same way” (IEB). “Likewise, also” (ESV). Paul’s follow up is that women, like the men, are to pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Then he continues with how she should dress and her character. Paul desires that men and women pray, “lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.”
Who should pray? Both male and female. How? Both are to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Where? Everywhere the context indicates. This is a simple passage which has suffered man’s additions and made to say things that Paul never wrote. Who leads is not under discussion? Since “leading” is not the issue, would this not eliminate it as “a Male Role ONLY” passage? If assumption requires the word ONLY and ““LEAD” to be added, where is that demand found in this passage?
Most Bible students believe verses 11 and 12 put the three preceding verses in the public “WORSHIP” assembly. If so, verse 8 still does not contain the word LEAD nor ONLY. Also, if verses 8 through 12 identifies the “every place” specifically as the PUBLIC WORSHIP assembly, that would exempt that requirement OUTSIDE that public assembly! All women and men pray in the assembly everywhere that assembly is held. All men and women raise up holy hands without wrath and doubting in those everywhere WORSHIP assemblies. However, when a woman is not in the assembly, she may still pray, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting just as the men do whenever they pray. Who leads? The question is not asked in the passage. Notice, that question is not raised when women only are praying either. The only passage in Acts that specifically mentions a prayer being offered in an assembly, a “leader” is assumed but not mentioned (Acts 4:24-31).
The question may be asked, “How can a woman pray if she is to be ‘silent’ in that assembly according to verses 11 and 12?” One has to assume that 1 Timothy 2 includes prayer and some woman was being called on to lead it. Some students answer that question by lumping the “silence” of 1 Corinthians 14:34 with the “silence” of 1 Timothy 2:11 as if they originated from the same Greek word. Paul used two entirely different words and applied them to different situations. Cementing them together creates inconsistencies and contradictions.
Some believe a woman may not lead in teaching nor in prayer because the word “silent” in verses 11 and 12 forbid it. The word “silent” in 1 Timothy 2 means “quietness,” not “shut your mouth” as found in 1 Corinthians 14. The ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, IEB, and ESV use the word “quietness” in 1 Timothy 2:11. We do not require women to sigao (shut her mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) in the WORSHIP assembly when singing. In fact, some songs are written requiring a female LEAD. We do not require women to sigao (shut their mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) when making the good confession in the WORSHIP assembly. Yet, in both scenarios the woman is speaking and/or teaching in “quietness” (Greek: hesychia). She is not usurping or exercising authority over the men in the assembly when she is doing that KIND (hesychia) of speaking. That being the case, she is also not violating 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 because she is not guilty of the KIND of speaking Paul is restricting. When a woman sings or confesses, she may be heard by all in that assembly. There is a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which a woman is authorized to do in the WORSHIP assembly regardless of where it meets or the number of men present. There is a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which she is NOT allowed to do there but is COMMANDED to do it “at home” (1 Corinthians 14:35). We have no authority to silence her (shut her mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) from speaking and/or teaching the KIND that is authorized by 1 Timothy 2:11-12. We have no authority to use either 1 Corinthians 14 or 1 Timothy 2 to restrict her speaking and/or teaching OUTSIDE that WORSHIP assembly. In fact, 1 Corinthians 14 restricts a woman from a specific KIND of speaking and/or teaching IN that WORSHIP assembly. That being the case, she is not restricting from all speaking! It does not restrict her from speaking and/or teaching that KIND OF speaking “at home.” INSIDE the WORSHIP assembly there is a KIND that is shameful. OUTSIDE, that WORSHIP assembly, that specific KIND of speech is authorized by COMMAND. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 gives her the right to speak and/or teach in the WORSHIP assembly with the “quietness” KIND of speaking and/or teaching. When a woman makes the good confession, she is speaking and/or teaching with that KIND of authorized action. When she sings, it is the same KIND of speaking and/or teaching. To misunderstand that difference and apply the wrong KIND places that individual in the position of binding what God has not bound (Matthew 15:9).
1 TIMOTHY 2:11-12
1 Timothy 2:11-12 commands that a woman, in the WORSHIP assembly is not to usurp authority over the man. She does not do so when that speaking is within the parameters of “quietness.” Singing and the Confession are two ways which fall within that guideline.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Paul restricts the woman in the WORSHIP assembly from a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which she would be “shameful” if she engaged in it. However, he authorizes her to speak and/or teach “at home” or outside that assembly that same KIND of speech because there it is not shameful but COMMANDED.
1 Timothy 2:8-9
Paul tells both men and women to pray in every WORSHIP assembly, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.
A Side Note
Paul mentions that men and “likewise” women are to “lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting” in prayer. We keep and insist on the “without wrath and doubting,” but ignore the “hands” and substitute a “holy attitude.” If someone raises his hands in prayer or in song today, some will criticize and/or condemned it as denominational or too emotional. It is neither. It is scriptural! To condemn what God has authorized may align us against God’s instruction and be ridiculing a practice that was engaged in by the very church and its worship we claim to restore.