1 Timothy 2:8-10 - The Heart of Worship
The Apostle Paul continues on in his letter to Timothy, the church, and by extension all churches since Paul’s time to explain more specific kinds of peoples and the ways they should conduct themselves in prayer and worship.
V-8 - We see the “then” at the beginning of the verse. Some translations say “therefore” instead of then. This is referring back to verses 1-3 in this chapter. Paul is going to explain and focus in on the heart of men and women as they pray and worship. Paul addresses the men first. The language of “lifting up holy hands” focuses on at least two specific ideas.
1. Lifting hands is about the posture of the heart and men do not always have to pray this way. Yes, it was common for men to pray this way in Scripture (cf. Luke 24:50; Psalm 28:2; 1 Kings 8:22), but there are also other postures for prayer. On your knees (like Daniel) and facedown (like Moses) would be a couple of other ways we can pray. All postures of prayer are good for us to practice including the lifting of hands.
2. The term “holy hands” speaks about the idea that the heart is pure before God. They have been cleansed by confessing their sins and repenting. God cares about our hearts so we should be right with Him before we publicly pray.
A. Matthew 5:21–24 (ESV): 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
B. 1 Samuel 16:1–7 (ESV): 16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
C. 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV): 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
D. Psalm 66:16–19 (ESV): 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Paul specifically brings up anger and quarreling because, in general, these are the besetting sins that men struggle with.
V-9 - Paul now shifts to speak to the women about their posture during prayer. Paul is not saying that women cannot dress nicely or be in style. They can braid their hair and can wear gold or pearls or costly attire as long as it doesn’t hinder their worship or the worship of others. In some cultures, these things would not be considered important or distracting. Fashion is something that changes culturally. If a woman is more focused and concerned with her appearance than her prayers and holiness, then she is missing the point. As one commentator puts it, “If they spend more time in front of the mirror than on their knees praying, there is a problem.” If they are trying to get the praise or attention of others during the worship service, then their focus is wrong. It is fine for a woman to want to look nice for various reasons, and it is good for us to be healthy and clean. However, we should not want to be distracting by drawing attention only to ourselves. We take care of what God has given us, so a woman can wear clothes that are both fashionable and modest. Modesty can be cultural to a degree, but a woman should not try to draw attention to her body in ways that would be linked to sensual or sexual thinking. This can be a stumbling block to others. In love, we should not try to tempt others to sin.
1. Romans 14:13–23 (ESV): 13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
2. 1 Corinthians 8:7–13 (ESV): 7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
3. 1 Corinthians 6:18–20 (ESV): 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
God has made women and they should not hide that they are women. In fact, they should dress in ways that show that they are women, and should not hide their femininity so that they could be confused as men.
1. Deuteronomy 22:5 (ESV): 5 “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
2. 1 Corinthians 16:12–14 (ESV): 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
In 1 Corinthians 11 the Apostle Paul addresses men and women and things related to hairstyle. Again, these things can change culturally, but what is important is that our dress, hairstyle, etc. match what is clear with no confusion for what is a man and what is a woman. A rose should look like a rose and it should not try to look like an apple. We should trim the thorns and leaves so it can be seen and glorify God for its beauty.
Scripture is also clear that looks and beauty fade so we shouldn’t focus too much on them.
1. Proverbs 31:25–30 (ESV): 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
2. Peter 3:1–6 (ESV): 3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
All of these principles are true for men as well, but in general, men do not struggle with these things to the degree that women do. Both men and women do struggle with fear of man/love of man and this can affect our worship. Let me end with encouraging you to battle fear of man with knowing your identity is in Christ and what He thinks about you is ultimately what matters. Let us think less about how we look, what didn’t go our way, and what others think, and focus more on living holy lives that draw people to Christ. Your worship and how you live your life will be directly linked to how much you care about what He thinks about you.
This sermon and the entire sermon series were influenced and impacted by the following commentaries, Bibles, books, teachings and sermons. I am so very grateful for the insight and ministries of those involved with each. Likewise, I am thankful for the insights and input from those who attend the sermon preparation time at FBCCK.
NIV Compact Bible Commentary - John Sailhammer
The Message of the New Testament - 1 Timothy - Mark Dever
The Letters to Timothy and Titus - The Pillar New Testament Commentary - Robert Yarbrough
The Pastoral Epistles - Tyndale New Testament Commentary - Donald Guthrie
1&2 Timothy and Titus - Preaching the Word Commentary - Bryan Chapell and R. Kent Hughes
1 Timothy - Reformed Expository Commentary - Philip Ryken
Does God Desire All to Be Saved - John Piper - Podcast
The Different Wills of God - R.C. Sproul aArticles on Ligioner
ESV Study Bible
HCSB Study Bible
John McArthur Study Bible
Topics for the Prayer Time
*Those who have yet to believe in Jesus
*The unreached peoples of the earth
*Missionaries around the world and for more to go
*The spiritual growth of other believers and churches
*That you would have more spiritual gifts
*That Christians would remain faithful under persecution
*Those who are sick
*Those who have lost loved ones
*Our nation, leaders, military, and civil servants
*Pray for the health and salvation of the unborn babies in our church
*Pray against the evils of abortion and human trafficking
*Pray for the University of Florida international students
*Pray God would bless our efforts to in evangelism and discipleship
*Pray God would bless our community
*Pray God would bless the churches of those visiting us