John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. I exhort therefore - Seeing God is so gracious. In this chapter he gives directions, 1. With regard to public prayers 2. With regard to doctrine. Supplication is here the imploring help in time of need: prayer is any kind of offering up our desires to God. But true prayer is the vehemency of holy zeal, the ardour of divine love, arising from a calm, undisturbed soul, moved upon by the Spirit of God. Intercession is prayer for others. We may likewise give thanks for all men, in the full sense of the word, for that God "willeth all men to be saved," and Christ is the Mediator of all.
Verse 2. For all that are in authority - Seeing even the lowest country magistrates frequently do much good or much harm. God supports the power of magistracy for the sake of his own people, when, in the present state of men, it could not otherwise be kept up in any nation whatever. Godliness - Inward religion; the true worship of God. Honesty - A comprehensive word taking in the whole duty we owe to our neighbour.
Verse 3. For this - That we pray for all men. Do you ask, "Why are not more converted?" We do not pray enough. Is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour - Who has actually saved us that believe, and willeth all men to be saved. It is strange that any whom he has actually saved should doubt the universality of his grace!
Verse 4. Who willeth seriously all men - Not a part only, much less the smallest part. To be saved - Eternally. This is treated of, 1 Timothy 2:5,6. And, in order thereto, to come - They are not compelled. To the knowledge of the truth - Which brings salvation. This is treated of, 1 Timothy 2:6,7.
Verse 5. For - The fourth verse is proved by the fifth; the first, by the fourth. There is one God - And they who have not him, through the one Mediator, have no God. One mediator also - We could not rejoice that there is a God, were there not a mediator also; one who stands between God and men, to reconcile man to God, and to transact the whole affair of our salvation. This excludes all other mediators, as saints and angels, whom the Papists set up and idolatrously worship as such: just as the heathens of old set up many mediators, to pacify their superior gods. The man - Therefore all men are to apply to this mediator, "who gave himself for all."
Verse 6. Who gave himself a ransom for all - Such a ransom, the word signifies, wherein a like or equal is given; as an eye for an eye, or life for life: and this ransom, from the dignity of the person redeeming, was more than equivalent to all mankind. To be testified of in due season - Literally, in his own seasons; those chosen by his own wisdom.
Verse 8. I will - A word strongly expressing his apostolical authority. Therefore - This particle connects the eighth with the first verse. That men pray in every place - Public and private. Wherever men are, there prayer should be. Lifting up holy hands - Pure from all known sin. Without wrath - In any kind, against any creature. And every temper or motion of our soul that is not according to love is wrath. And doubting - Which is contrary to faith. And wrath, or unholy actions, or want of faith in him we call upon, are the three grand hinderances of God's hearing our petitions. Christianity consists of faith and love, embracing truth and grace: therefore the sum of our wishes should be, to pray, and live, and die, without any wrath or doubt.
Verse 9. With sobriety - Which, in St. Paul's sense, is the virtue which governs our whole life according to true wisdom. Not with curled hair, not with gold - Worn by way of ornament. Not with pearls - Jewels of any kind: a part is put for the whole. Not with costly raiment - These four are expressly forbidden by name to all women (here is no exception) professing godliness, and no art of man can reconcile with the Christian profession the wilful violation of an express command.
Verse 12. To usurp authority over the man - By public teaching.
Verse 13. First - So that woman was originally the inferior.
Verse 14. And Adam was not deceived - The serpent deceived Eve: Eve did not deceive Adam, but persuaded him. "Thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife," Genesis 3:17. The preceding verse showed why a woman should not "usurp authority over the man." this shows why she ought not "to teach." She is more easily deceived, and more easily deceives. The woman being deceived transgressed - "The serpent deceived" her, Genesis 3:13, and she transgressed.
Verse 15. Yet she - That is, women in general, who were all involved with Eve in the sentence pronounced, Genesis 3:16. Shall be saved in childbearing - Carried safe through the pain and danger which that sentence entails upon them for the transgression; yea, and finally saved, if they continue in loving faith and holy wisdom.
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