The Method That Guides Our Bible Study


To think again about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8-15 it is helpful to notice where these verses fit into the three-point outline Paul gave for this part of his letter. Step by step he addresses those who are like he was before turning to Christ. These categories are

(1) the blasphemers,

(2) the persecutors, and

(3) the injurious ones.

Paul had lived a complex life. But he summed it all up in three points because these were the three points he was going to use to organize the following sections of his letter of instructions to Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:13: “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious … .”

Hymenaeus and Alexander were rebellious blasphemers. They were turned over to Satan for harsh punishment (1 Timothy 1:20). Those who were in positions of authority like he had occupied were potential persecutors of the believers. Paul takes up their situation next in 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

Then, in 1 Timothy 2:8-15, Paul turns to those who were the injurious ones and were injuring the church from the inside. These were the majority of those he had left Timothy at Ephesus to correct. Did this apply to all those who were ministering in the rapidly growing church at Ephesus? Of course not! Will these verses apply broadly to church leaders today? Highly unlikely! It applied to someof the men and some of the women who were ministering as teachers at Ephesus.

Think again. “Injurious” is frequently mistranslated using the English word “violent.” This not only misses the meaning of the Greek word but makes Paul seem to stutter, repeating the idea of second word in his list, that of being a violent persecutor. In this way, the three points in his outline of what is to come is lost to English readers, and what follows disintegrates into a seemingly haphazard and disorganized string of ideas.

(cc) Bruce C. E. Fleming (July 2019)

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