As mentioned in my earlier post, Grudem’s Systematic Theology[i] identifies four passages that support the position that Christians should try to influence government. In this post, I look at what takeaways a Christian can gain from 1 Timothy 2:1-4.
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4
A believer is supposed to pray for governmental officials according to 1 Timothy 2:1–4 (NASB95):
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
The operative expression is “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” One commentator[ii] helps define Paul’s prayer requests (boldfacing added):
The final clause of v. 2 designates the content of the prayer. First, Paul’s words imply that Christians must pray that their leaders will have the knowledge needed to guide them in their duties. Freedom from anarchy, persecution, and economic hardship can facilitate the spread of the gospel. Wise rulers can provide sound, solid leadership to accomplish these goals. Paul was not merely requesting that Christians pray for the conversion of their leaders, although this was at least a part of the prayer. The prayers include thanksgivings for those decisions that facilitate the spread of Christianity and requests for wisdom in making important decisions.
Another commentator[iii] writes:
It should be remembered that God has instituted government for our benefit. When government operates well, it is a significant ally to the gospel. Knowing that the mission of the church is to reveal and disperse the truth of Jesus Christ, Paul emphasized the need to pray for those in authority.
Governmental leaders and bureaucratic policies have a direct bearing on our freedom to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Peaceful literally means “tranquil.” This word refers to the absence of outside disturbances. Quiet refers to a composed, discreet order. Certainly we desire our nation to be peaceful and quiet. Paul implied that God is willing to help us achieve this. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1).
The point of desiring a benign environment, however, is not for our own comfort. It is for the expression of godliness and holiness; it is for Christian witness. Paul still had in view the observing community and world, the spread of the gospel, the salvation of the lost. This became apparent as he continued.
Keeping in mind that a benign government is for the expression of godliness and holiness and Christian witness, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 supports trying to influence government.
The takeaways from 1 Timothy 2:1-4 are Christians should try to influence government to (1) facilitate the spread of the gospel, (2) stop abortion, and (3) not to pass laws that encourage the LGBTQ lifestyle.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation.
Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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[i] Footnote 11 at page 893 (Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 893). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House) reads [in part]:
The fact that Christians should try to influence government to make laws consistent with biblical standards is indicated by passages such as Matt. 6:10; 14:4; Acts 24:25; and 1 Tim. 2:1–4.
[ii] Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 88). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[iii] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 165). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.