on 1-timothy 2 :8
I will therefore - Seeing the apostle had his authority from Christ, and spoke nothing but what he received from him, his βουλομαι, I will, is equal to Icommand.
That men pray - That is, for the blessings promised in this testimony of God. For, although God has provided them, yet he will not give them to such as will not pray. See the note on 1 Timothy 2:1, the subject of which is here resumed.
Everywhere - Εν παντι τοπῳ· In every place. That they should always have a praying heart, and this will ever find a praying place. This may refer to a Jewish superstition. They thought, at first, that no prayer could be acceptable that was not offered at the temple at Jerusalem; afterward this was extended to the Holy Land; but, when they became dispersed among the nations, they built oratories or places of prayer, principally by rivers and by the seaside; and in these they were obliged to allow that public prayer might be legally offered, but nowhere else. In opposition to this, the apostle, by the authority of Christ, commands men to pray everywhere; that all places belong to God's dominions; and, as he fills every place, in every place he may be worshipped and glorified. As to ejaculatory prayer, they allowed that this might be performed standing, sitting, leaning, lying, walking by the way, and during their labor. Beracoth, fol. xi. 1. And yet in some other places they teach differently. See Schoettgen.
Lifting up holy hands - It was a common custom, not only among the Jews, but also among the heathens, to lift up or spread out their arms and hands in prayer. It is properly the action of entreaty and request; and seems to be an effort to embrace the assistance requested. But the apostle probably alludes to the Jewish custom of laying their hands on the head of the animal which they brought for a sin-offering, confessing their sins, and then giving up the life of the animal as an expiation for the sins thus confessed. And this very notion is conveyed in the original term επαιροντας, from αιρω to lift up, and επι, upon or over. This shows us how Christians should pray. They should come to the altar; set God before their eyes; humble themselves for their sins; bring as a sacrifice the Lamb of God; lay their hands on this sacrifice; and by faith offer it to God in their souls' behalf, expecting salvation through his meritorious death alone.
Without wrath - Having no vindictive feeling against any person; harbouring no unforgiving spirit, while they are imploring pardon for their own offenses.
The holy hands refer to the Jewish custom of washing their hands before prayer; this was done to signify that they had put away all sin, and purposed to live a holy life.
And doubting - Διαλογισμου or διαλογισμων, as in many MSS., reasonings, dialogues. Such as are often felt by distressed penitents and timid believers; faith, hope, and unbelief appearing to hold a disputation and controversy in their own bosoms, in the issue of which unbelief ordinarily triumphs. The apostle therefore wills them to come, implicitly relying on the promises of God, and the sacrifice and mediation of Jesus Christ.
on 1-timothy 2 :8
I will therefore - The Greek word here (βοὺλομαι boulomai) is different from the word rendered "will" - θέλω thelō - in 1 Timothy 2:4. The distinction is, that the word there used - θέλω thelō - denotes an active volition or purpose; the word here used - βοὺλομαι boulomai - a mere passive desire, propensity, willingness. Robinson's Lexicon The meaning here is, "it is my will" - expressing his wish in the case, or giving direction - though using a milder word than that which is commonly employed to denote an act of will.
That men pray everywhere - Not merely in the temple, or in other sacred places, but in all places. The Jews supposed that there was special efficacy in prayers offered at the temple in Jerusalem; the pagan also had the same view in regard to their temples - for both seemed to suppose that they came nearer to God by approaching his sacred abode. Christianity teaches that God may be worshipped in any place, and that we are at all times equally near him; see the John 4:20-24 notes; Acts 17:25 note. The direction here given that men should pray, in contradistinction from the duties of women, specified in the next verse, may be intended to imply that men should conduct the exercises of public worship. The duties of women pertain to a different sphere; compare 1 Timothy 2:11-12.
Lifting up holy hands - To lift up the hands denotes supplication, as it was a common attitude of prayer to spread abroad the hands toward heaven; compare Psalm 68:31; Exodus 9:29, Exodus 9:33; 1 Kings 8:22; 2 Chronicles 6:12-13; Isaiah 1:15; see also Horace Odes, iii. 23. 1; Ovid, M. 9:701; Livy, v. 21; Seneca, Ephesians 21. "Holy hands" here, mean hands that are not defiled by sin, and that have not been employed for any purpose of iniquity. The idea is, that when men approach God they should do it in a pure and holy manner.
Without wrath - That is, without the intermingling of any evil passion; with a calm, peaceful, benevolent mind. There should be nothing of the spirit of contention; there should be no anger toward others; the suppliant should be at peace with all people. It is impossible for a man to pray with comfort, or to suppose that his prayers will be heard, if he cherishes anger. The following exquisite and oft-quoted passage from Jeremy Taylor, is a more beautiful and striking illustration of the effect of anger in causing our prayers to return unanswered than was probably ever penned by anyone else. Nothing could be more true, beautiful, and graphic. "Anger sets the house on fire, and all the spirits are busy upon trouble, and intend propulsion, defense, displeasure, or revenge. It is a short madness, and an eternal enemy to discourse and a fair conversation; it intends its own object with all the earnestness of perception or activity of design, and a quicker motion of a too warm and distempered blood; it is a fever in the heart, and a calenture in the head, and a fire in the face, and a sword in the band, and a fury all over; and therefore can never suffer a man to be in a disposition to pray. For prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be wise in.
Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to that attention which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upward, and singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and rise above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconsistent, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings, until the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel." "The Return of Prayers," Works, vol. i. 638. Ed. Lond. 1835.
And doubting - This word, as used here, does not mean, as our translation would seem to imply, that we are to come before God without any doubts of our own piety, or in the exercise of perfect faith. The word used (διαλογισμός dialogismos) means, properly, computation, adjustment of accounts; then reflection, thought; then reasoning, opinion; then debate, contention, strife; Luke 9:46; Mark 9:33-34; Philippians 2:14. This is the sense evidently in this place. They were not to approach God in prayer in the midst of clamorous disputings and angry contentions. They were not to come when the mind was heated with debate, and irritated by strife for victory. Prayer was to be offered in a calm, serious, sober state of mind, and they who engaged in polemical strife, or in warm contention of any kind, are little fitted to unite in the solemn act of addressing God. How often are theologians, when assembled together, so heated by debate, and so anxious for party victory, that they are in no suitable state of mind to pray! How often do even good people, holding different views on the disputed points of religious doctrine, suffer their minds to become so excited, and their temper so ruffled, that they are conscious they are in an unfit state of mind to approach the throne of grace together! That theological debate has gone too far; that strife for victory has become too warm, when the disputants are in such a state of mind that they cannot unite in prayer; when they could not cease their contentions, and with a calm and proper spirit, bow together before the throne of grace.
on 1-timothy 2 :8