Pray for Those in Authority: What Does 1 Timothy 2:2 Mean?


1 Timothy 2:2 reads, “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation1 Timothy 2:2
ESVfor kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
NASBfor kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
NIVfor kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
NLTPray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

Pray for Those in Authority: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

2:1-7 The disciples of Christ must be praying people; all, without distinction of nation, sect, rank, or party. Our duty as Christians, is summed up in two words; godliness, that is, the right worshipping of God; and honesty, that is, good conduct toward all men.

These must go together: we are not truly honest, if we are not godly, and do not render to God his due; and we are not truly godly, if not honest. What is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, we should abound in.

There is one Mediator, and that Mediator gave himself a ransom for all. And this appointment has been made for the benefit of the Jews and the Gentiles of every nation; that all who are willing may come in this way, to the mercy-seat of a pardoning God, to seek reconciliation with him.

Sin had made a quarrel between us and God; Jesus Christ is the Mediator who makes peace. He is a ransom that was to be known in due time. In the Old Testament times, his sufferings, and the glory that should follow, were spoken of as things to be revealed in the last times.

Those who are saved must come to the knowledge of the truth, for that is God’s appointed way to save sinners: if we do not know the truth, we cannot be ruled by it.

1 Timothy 2:2 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. For kings—an effectual confutation of the adversaries who accused the Christians of disaffection to the ruling powers (Ac 17:7; Ro 13:1-7).

all … in authority—literally, “in eminence”; in stations of eminence. The “quiet” of Christians was often more dependent on subordinate rulers, than on the supreme king; hence, “all … in authority” are to be prayed for.

that we may lead—that we may be blessed with such good government as to lead … ; or rather, as Greek, “to pass” or “spend.” The prayers of Christians for the government bring down from heaven peace and order in a state.

quiet—not troubled from without.

peaceable—”tranquil”; not troubled from within [Olshausen]. “He is peaceable (Greek) who makes no disturbance; he is quiet (Greek) who is himself free from disturbance” [Tittmann].

in all godliness—”in all (possible … requisite) piety” [Alford]. A distinct Greek word, 1Ti 2:10, expresses “godliness.”

honesty—Greek, “gravity” (Tit 2:2, 7), “decorum,” or propriety of conduct. As “piety” is in relation to God, “gravity” is propriety of behavior among men. In the Old Testament the Jews were commanded to pray for their heathen rulers (Ezr 6:10; Jer 29:7).

The Jews, by Augustus’ order, offered a lamb daily for the Roman emperor, till near the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jewish Zealots, instigated by Eleazar, caused this custom to cease [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2.17], whence the war originated, according to Josephus.

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