Desire for will , A.V.; the men for men , A.V.; in every place for everywhere , A.V.; disputing for doubting , A.V. I desire , etc. He takes up the subject again which he had opened in 1 Timothy 2:1 , but had somewhat digressed from in 1 Timothy 2:4-7 , and gives further directions as to the persons who are to make the prayers spoken of in 1 Timothy 2:1 , viz. men ( τοὺς ἄνδρας ), not women, as it follows more at large in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 . The stress is clearly upon "men" (or, "the men"—it makes no difference); and there is no force in Alford's remark that in that case it would have been τοὺς ἄνδρας προσεύχεσθαι . The prayers had been already ordered in 1 Timothy 2:1 ; the additional detail, that they were to be offered by men, is now added. In every place; not, as Chrysostom thinks, in contrast to the Jewish worship, which was confined to the temple at Jerusalem, but merely meaning wherever a Christian congregation is assembled. Lifting up holy hands. Alford quotes Clem. Ram. 'To the Corinthians,' Ephesians 1:1-23 . 1 Timothy 29: προσέλθωμεν .. ἐν ὁσιότητι ψυχῆς ἁγνὰς καὶ ἀμιάντους χεῖρας αἴρουντες πρὸς αὐτόν (camp. Psalms 26:6 ; Psalms 28:2 ; Psalms 43:1-5 :20; Psalms 63:4 ; 2 Chronicles 6:12 , 2 Chronicles 6:13 ). Without wrath. It appears from several passages in Chrysostom that the habit of praying angry prayers was not unknown in his day. " Do you pray against your brother? But your prayer is not against him, but against yourself. You provoke God by uttering those impious words, 'Show him the same;' 'So do to him;' 'Smite him;' 'Recompense him;' and much more to the same effect" ('Hom.' 6.). In 'Hom.' 8. his comment on this passage is: "Without bearing malice.... Let no one approach each God in enmity, or in an unsalable temper." And disputing ( διαλογισμοῦ ). The exact meaning of διαλογισμός is perhaps best seen in Luke 5:21 , Luke 5:22 , where both the verb and the substantive are used. The διαλογισμοὶ are carillings , questionings proceeding from a captious, unbelieving spirit. They are διαλογισμοὶ πονηροὶ ( Matthew 15:19 ). The word is always used in a bad sense in the New Testament. Forms of prayer were not yet established in the Church, but these cautious show the need of them.
The whole chapter is given up to directions concerning the public worship of the Church. We may notice the following particulars.
I. THE SUBJECTS OF PUBLIC PRAYER . When the Church meets together in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it meets as pre-eminently the friend of the human race. As the Church of him who is the world's Savior and Redeemer, it must manifest the same spirit of universal love which animated him. It is not as being haters of the human race (as their enemies falsely said), but as being true lovers of their kind, that Christians banded themselves together and refused all fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. This love, then, was especially to be shown in their united prayers. When they came together, though perhaps their enemies were thirsting for their blood, they were to offer up their united prayers for all men. Specially, with a view to the peace and order of society, should they pray for kings and governors and all in authority, that by God's blessing upon their government the course of this world might be so peaceably ordered that his Church might serve him joyfully in all godly quietness. And if we consider how much human happiness depends upon good government on the part of the rulers, and upon quiet obedience to the laws on the part of the people, we shall see how much need there is for such prayers. In our own days the restless spirit that is abroad, the impatience of all control, and the general weakening of rule and authority all over the world, increases the need both of wisdom and strength in rulers, and consequently for the strengthening of their hands by the prayers and intercessions of the people of God.
II. THE PERSONS WHO ARE TO PRAY IN THE CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES . These are limited to the men. The prayers and the teaching in the congregation are to be conducted by men only. The difference of sex, and the different social and religious functions of each sex, are really of Divine appointment. As St. Paul says to the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 11:9 ), "the woman was made for the man, and not the man for the woman;" and all the subsequent relations of the man and woman, in the family, in the state, and in the Church, are naturally evolved from their primeval state as ordered by God. It is obvious, too, that there must be harmony in these various relations, and that the principle which rules in one department of life must rule in the others also. Anyhow, it is distinctly laid down, on the apostolic authority of St. Paul, that in the Church assemblies the functions of public prayer, and public teaching and preaching, are confined to men. The wide field of more private female ministrations is still open to godly women, and seems to be amply justified by the existence of prophetesses in the primitive Church, and by such examples as that of Priscilla ( Acts 18:26 ). As regards the character of the men who lead the prayers of the congregation, three qualifications are named: holiness, quietness of spirit, simplicity in the petitions. The hands that are lifted up to God in prayer must be clean hands, unstained by blood, untainted by bribes or dishonest gains, unpolluted by any evil deeds. The prayers that are offered must come from hearts where no malice or ill will dwells, no resentment for wrongs received or injuries endured; and from minds where the spirit of controversy is dumb, and no caviling is to be found. Sincerity and godly simplicity, with an honest faith in the faithfulness of God, are essential to acceptable prayer.
III. The third feature in the public assemblies of the saints on which St. Paul insists is THE MODEST DRESS AND DEMEANOUR OF THE CONGREGATION . This applies especially to the women, but it is true of the men also. Christians come to church to worship the glorious God, to humble themselves before his holy presence, and to hear his Word, not for display, not to attract notice, not for vain-glory or worldly vanity. It is, therefore, quite out of place for either men or women to make a parade of finery in church. The ornaments best suited for persons professing godliness at all times, but especially when they approach the throne of God, are those of a pure heart and a meek spirit, and an abundance of good works. It is the hidden man of the heart which needs adorning for its access to the court of heaven.