About The “Wrath and Doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8

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First Timothy 2:8 closes most interestingly: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

What is the “wrath” here? What about the “doubting?”

Most commentators offer us very little light on this. If we “search the Scriptures,” especially the context, we can explain this verse.

“[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

The “wrath” of verse 8 sits in contrast to the “quiet and peaceable life” of verse 2. In other words, if we pray the “Pauline way” (as laid out in Romans through Philemon, “the Dispensation of the Grace of God;” Ephesians 3:2), we will not have an attitude of bitterness and hostility toward leaders. In today’s wild world, even professing Christians are increasingly entertaining the idea of anarchy (lawlessness) or sedition (overthrowing) as touching governmental powers. There is nothing wrong with exposing the corruption of politicians. We should certainly speak out against error of all forms—religious, political, economic, social, et cetera. However, the festering anti-government sentiment increasingly besetting our society is absolutely not God’s Spirit working in people. It is sinful flesh “doing its own thing,” no different from Adam and Eve refusing to submit to God’s instructions in Eden.

Paul wrote this in Romans chapter 13:

“[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: [4] For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. [5] Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [6] For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [7] Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Never forget the evil Roman Empire was governing Israel at the time this was written!)

Unless human government encourages or commands us to violate the principles laid out in the Holy Bible, we should submit to leaders. Notice the Apostle Peter’s answer in Acts chapter 5:

“[27] And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, [28] Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. [29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Even though Israel’s corrupt religious leaders ordered the Apostles not to preach Jesus Christ, God’s servants did it anyway. We can also compare this to Daniel chapter 6, when the Prophet Daniel broke the Median-Persian law that forbade him to pray to God. Daniel was ultimately thrown into the lions’ den, but God delivered him through a miracle. Here are two instances where Christians should certainly disobey human government. However, the fact remains, a lot of anti-government sentiment today is rarely grounded in any Bible truth anyway.

As for the “doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8, the context has already established it. Let us go back to the beginning of the chapter:

“[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I [Paul] am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity [truth]. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

“Doubting” is the refusal to accept the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message (verse 7). When claiming to be a preacher, an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles, Paul was accused of lying. Therefore, the Holy Spirit caused Paul to insert a rebuttal in parentheses: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

Concentrate on 1 Timothy 2:3-8 now: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

During this the Dispensation of Grace, God’s will is twofold.

Firstly, He wants all men “to be saved.” (“Men” is a generic noun for all people—men, women, boys, and girls.)

Secondly, He also wants all humans “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The first part of His will is that people believe on His Son alone as their personal Saviour: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Consequently, Paul writes: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Through His finished crosswork on Calvary, Jesus Christ acts as the Mediator between us and Father God. Once we trust Him, we are redeemed, forgiven, sanctified, and so on. Now, remember, being saved unto eternal life—justification—is only one part of God’s will.

The second part of God’s will is… for all people “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” This goes beyond justification. This involves understanding why God invented the plan of salvation and chose to save us in Christ. Now that we are Christians, having believed on His Son, and what His purpose is in forming the Church “the Body of Christ”? How will He use us now and, in the ages, to come?

What does He want to do in and through us? Unless we come to the knowledge of the truth, we do not know!

Once, the merits of Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary were restricted to the nation Israel. Isaiah 53:8 says “for the transgression of my people [that is, Isaiah’s people] was he stricken.” Matthew 20:28 reads thusly: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Compare that “many” (above) with Paul’s inspired all in 1 Timothy 2:6: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, [all men = Jew and Gentile] to be testified in due time.”

Verse 7: “Whereunto [To what purpose] I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Now, with Paul’s ministry—Paul being the “due-time testifier” or preacher (verse 7)—we learn Christ died for all men! Calvary is available to anyone and everyone—whatever one’s race, nationality, religious background, economic situation, et cetera. That is the special message the Lord Jesus Christ gave directly to the Apostle Paul for us. Now, with all this said, let us return to our original question and all will become clear.

During this “Dispensation of the Grace of God,” we know through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message that Jesus Christ died for all people, in order to save all people from their sins. All people would include governmental leaders—the very individuals often despised (and, considering their regular perversion, this is easy to understand). However, the sinful human nature of the flesh rebels against any and all authority (especially God’s).

Thus, the current anti-government sentiment will then be useful to Satan’s policy of evil to destroy the local church’s testimony. So as to guard against this, the Holy Spirit encourages Christians with one simple exhortation in 1 Timothy chapter 2: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all [most importantly!!!!!], supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority [!!!!]; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Carefully considering Pauline doctrine seen in Romans through Philemon, we as members of “the Body of Christ” are encouraged to pray for governmental leaders instead of hate them with a passion. Here is how we “pray without wrath—the purpose or intent being “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” While it may be hard to believe, God wants to save them from their sins too! Christ died for all, remember. Since this “all-man” gospel message is unique to the Apostle Paul, and highly controversial (offensive), it is therefore usually questioned. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit says to “pray without doubting.” “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

*Shawn Brasseaux’s whole Article may be seen here at: https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.org/2020/07/22/what-about-the-wrath-and-doubting-of-1-timothy-28/

 

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