Prayer, Idleness, and Exhortation – 2 Thessalonians 3

Read the Passage: 2 Thessalonians 3

Request for Prayer (3:1–5)

In his two letters to the Thessalonian believers Paul mentions prayer six times, as he notes his prayers for the church three times (cf. 1 Thess. 1:2; 3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11), he commands prayer once (cf. 1 Thess. 5:17), and he asks for prayer twice (cf. 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1). Continue reading Prayer, Idleness, and Exhortation – 2 Thessalonians 3

Love for the Church – 1 Thessalonians 3

Read the Passage: 1 Thessalonians 3

Concern of Paul (3:1–5)

In 1 Thess. 2:17–20 Paul had mentioned his desire to see the Thessalonian believers. Recall that after his three-week ministry in Thessalonica (cf. Acts 17:1–9), Paul was forced to leave the city and to flee, which landed him in Berea (cf. Acts 17:10–15). Continue reading Love for the Church – 1 Thessalonians 3

Value of Wisdom – Proverbs 2

Read the Passage: Proverbs 2

Listen to The Redeemed Mind Podcast: Proverbs 2

Availability of Wisdom (2:1–9)

In Prov. 1:20–23 Solomon had described the availability of wisdom. All throughout this book Solomon will personify wisdom as a herald calling out to mankind (cf. Prov. 8:1; 9:3). Continue reading Value of Wisdom – Proverbs 2

Trusting in God – Isaiah 37

Read the Passage: Isaiah 37

Listen to the Redeemed Mind Podcast: Isaiah 37

Isaiah’s Assurance (37:1–7)

Isaiah 36–39 is an historical narrative that punctuates the prophecies of Isaiah. These four chapters are almost copied verbatim in 2 Kings 18:13–20:19 and again in 2 Chron. 32:1–23. It is probable that the writer of 2 Kings, whom tradition holds was Jeremiah, copied from Isaiah, not vice-versa (cf. 2 Chron. 32:32). Continue reading Trusting in God – Isaiah 37

Concluding Admonitions – Ephesians 6:10–24

Read the Passage: Ephesians 6:10–24

Spiritual Warfare (6:10–13)

After giving specific teaching on marriage and family, as well as on vocation, Paul turns at the end of his letter to the Ephesian church to address the topic of spiritual warfare. In Eph. 6:10–20 Paul explains that while believers already have victory over Satan through the cross of Christ, in our present earthly lives, temptation to sin will persist. Continue reading Concluding Admonitions – Ephesians 6:10–24

Paul’s Second Prayer – Ephesians 3:14–21

Read the Passage: Ephesians 3:14-21

Rationale (3:14–15)

If we include his short blessings and benedictions, Paul records more than forty prayers in his thirteen epistles. Among these prayers, the ones recorded in Eph. 1:15–23; 3:14–21 are two of Paul’s longest prayers. Continue reading Paul’s Second Prayer – Ephesians 3:14–21

Paul’s Prayer – Ephesians 1:15–23

Read the Passage: Ephesians 1:15-23

Declaration (1:15–16)

This passage contains the first of two prayers that Paul gives in the book of Ephesians, the other being at Eph. 3:14–21. Initially, it may seem strange that Paul would offer a prayer immediately after his teaching about predestination in Eph. 1:3–14. Continue reading Paul’s Prayer – Ephesians 1:15–23

Protection from Evil – Psalm 141

Read the Passage: Psalm 141

Prayer for Haste (141:1–2)

Psalm 141 is one of the 75 psalms (out of 150 in the Book of Psalms) that David wrote. While the exact context and background details of Psalm 141 can’t be determined with full certainty, it was surely written by David during one of his many times of life distress—perhaps, as some suggest, when David was in the wilderness being pursued by King Saul, or maybe while David was fleeing from his son Absalom. Continue reading Protection from Evil – Psalm 141

Exhortation to Worship – Psalm 95

Read the Passage: Psalm 95

Call to Worship (95:1–2)

Psalm 95 is technically anonymous, as it contains no superscription. From the book of Hebrews, however, we learn that David wrote Psalm 95, for the author of Hebrews quotes Ps. 95:7–8 at Heb. 4:7 and attributes the citation to David. Continue reading Exhortation to Worship – Psalm 95

Prayer and Gender Roles – 1 Timothy 2

Read the Passage: 1 Timothy 2

Spiritual Intercession (2:1–7)

Evidently, one of the challenges Timothy needed to address in Ephesus was that the church had ceased to regularly pray for the lost, especially for their political leaders. Since rulers and others in positions of cultural power are sometimes hostile towards God and His church, it is often easier for believers to criticize such leaders than to pray for them. This would have been especially true for the Christians in Ephesus, for Nero was the reigning emperor during this time period. History records that Nero was extremely antagonistic toward believers, as had been his predecessor, Claudius Caesar (cf. Acts 18:2). Despite the anti-Christian bias of some secular rulers, the church must continue to pray for political leaders, for, as Paul had earlier instructed the believers in Rome, “The authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1; cf. Titus 3:1–2; 1 Pet. 2:13–17).

One reason Paul gives for praying for political leaders is “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Similarly, Paul had earlier instructed the Thessalonian believers to “aspire to lead a quiet life” (1 Thess. 4:11) and told Titus “to be peaceable [and] gentle . . . to all men” (Titus 3:2). Observe Paul does not say that believers ought to spend time worrying about their future, being overly anxious about cultural decay, and answering every one of their critics. Rather, Christians are to pray for their leaders, even ones that are hostile toward the gospel, for God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Of course, not all men—nor even most men (cf. Matt. 7:13–14)—will be saved; yet, those who are lost ought to remain so in spite of believers’ prayers, not on account of our lack of prayers.

External Actions (2:8–10)

In 1 Tim. 2:8–10 Paul transitions into a discussion about gender roles. While we may be tempted to think that debates about gender roles are a modern phenomenon, mankind has always struggled with this issue. Indeed, in the creation account God’s design of gender roles is clear—that is, male and female are completely equal in regard to essence and worth, but distinct in regard to function and role. In short, God’s design entailed the following: Adam was to protect and to provide for Eve; Eve was to help and to submit to Adam; and together, they were to cultivate and to steward the creation (cf. Gen. 2:15–25). Yet, in the fall of mankind, the creation—as personified by the snake—led Eve into sin; Eve submitted to the creation and led Adam into temptation; and Adam submitted to Eve’s suggestion, thus committing the original sin (cf. Gen. 3:1–7). The fall was a complete reversal, or inversion, of the divine design for relationships.

Internal Disposition (2:11–15)

As we read 1 Tim. 2:11–15, we must keep in mind that these verses are a continuation of Paul’s earlier teaching about the way in which gender roles are externally manifest within the church. In 1 Tim. 2:11–12, focusing on the roles of women, Paul address the issue of doctrinal teaching within the church. In this passage Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12). Contextually, Paul is referring to women filling the role and office of a pastor (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1–8); he is not prohibiting women from talking in the church or from teaching other believers in appropriate circumstances. Indeed, in Acts 18:26 we see Priscilla privately teaching Apollos and in Titus 2:3 we read Paul’s admonition that older women become “teachers of good things” as they interact with younger women within the church.

Throughout history, one of the most common ways that people have circumvented doctrine is to claim that certain biblical teachings are time-bound and/or culture-specific. Being aware of this evasive tactic, in 1 Tim. 2:13–14 Paul showed the moral nature of his teaching on gender roles by grounding it in the creation account. In concluding this chapter, Paul gave a practical argument for embracing gender roles—that is, the fact that God designs us to do what He tells us to do. In 1 Tim. 2:15, which is a challenging verse, Paul’s reference to “she” stands for Eve (from 1 Tim. 2:13) who represents all women; “saved” means fulfilled or completed; and “childbearing” is a paradigm of female gender roles. Therefore, Paul’s teaching is this verse is as follows: Women will be fulfilled or completed as they embrace their divinely designed gender roles and continue in the faith.

Application Questions:

  1. Do you regularly pray for leaders both in the church and in the culture? What ought Christians to pray for in regard to unbelieving rulers?
  2. Do you find your life characterized by peace and quietness, or by worry and anxiety? How can we worry less in a fallen world (cf. Matt. 6:25–34)?
  3. What factors may have been influencing the church in Ephesus to be confused regarding God’s design of gender roles?
  4. How can Christians embrace and winsomely teach a biblical view of gender roles to a fallen culture that is inclined to reject this message?
  5. How can we tell the difference in Scripture between timeless moral principles and time-bound cultural practices (cf. 1 Cor. 11:2–16)?