Monday, September 10, 2012

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Paul tells Timothy that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should continue.  Specifically, Paul tells Timothy to pray for kings (leaders) so that the lives of the citizens would be peaceful and capable of being spiritual.  Leading a godly life is pleasing to God.  God desires all people to be saved and come to an understanding of truth. 

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul talks about four types of prayer.  Supplications are prayers that are urgent or based on some pressing or otherwise significant need.  Prayers – the second of Paul’s list – is the word for generic prayers made to God.  Intercessions are prayers that are made on behalf of someone else.  Thanksgivings are prayers that are based in our gratitude towards God.

Why is it neat to think that there are different types of prayer?  Is there a particular type of prayer that you are more familiar with than another?  Is there one type of prayer that comes easier to you than another?

Second Thought:
Paul does tell us to pray for our leaders – but not for the usual reason.  Do note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for our leaders for their sake.  However, Paul tells Timothy to pray for the leaders for the sake of the regular people in the empire.  Paul knows that especially in an empire, the whims of the leader will make things easy or difficult with respect to the expression of faith.  Paul desires Timothy to pray for the Roman emperor and the regional governors so that the people can spread the Gospel without fearing for their lives.

How does this perspective on life make you feel about your own life?  How often are you worried for your life when you express your faith?  Do you know of any areas where people are in danger for their faith?  What do you think Paul’s advice to us is with respect to those areas?

Third Thought:
Paul tells Timothy that God desires that all people would be saved and know His truth.  This brings up an interesting question: does God always get what He desires?  The answer to this question is to talk about God’s permissive will versus God’s absolute will.  When God employs His absolute will, nothing can stop Him.  In that sense, God gets what He wants.  However, God has a permissive will as well.  He has some desires that He knows are best for us but with which He gives us the ability to choose our own path.  In short, sometimes God’s will gives permission for us to choose.  In order for us to have free will, God must have a permissive will.

A great analogy is a parent whose child goes off to college.  The will of the parent is that the child tries hard, studies harder, and does as well as possible in classes.  However, the parent permits the child to make their own decisions on when to study, when to go to class, what to wear, etc.  The parent has their own will, but they permit their child to be able to make their own choices (for better or for worse).

How do you see God’s permissive will in your life?  Do you genuinely believe that God wants all people to know him?  Why do you think God allows something as important as salvation to fall under the category of His permissive will?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 2:5-7
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