December 02, 2021 – Thursday
1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Another verse, like that of 1 Thessalonians 4:11, on living quiet lives only this time it is living peaceful and quiet lives. However, before going further, I want to mention while Paul writes first of all there is no second or third point here. I noticed this because my bride of 50 years pointed it out in some of my writing of late as well. A commentary pointed out the same for Paul here as well, but noted Paul was using first of all to focus the attention of the reader on what he was writing. Perhaps I can use the same reasoning in my writing.
Before getting to living peaceful and quiet lives let’s look at what precedes this. Paul is not urging believers to pray for those in authority ignorant of their sinful and evil lives. Instead he includes intercession, so that we might pray for the salvation of those in authority, that they would repent of their sins and accept the gospel with the grace that comes with it. This would have been a difficult pill to swallow as Nero was the Roman emperor and a more cruel, vain, vicious man could not be imagined, plus he freely persecuted those of the faith.
Persecution was not the result of civil disobedience, but of simply choosing Jesus and living as righteously as one could. Paul wrote we prayed for intercession so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. He ends the sentence in all godliness and holiness. Godliness has to do with having the proper attitude and conduct before God in everything. That is our goal and praying for the salvation of those in authority helps us to have a proper attitude. Holiness (or reverence) is strongly related and denotes being moral and behaving in a moral manner before men as well as God.
This brings us to our two words of great interest peaceful and quiet. Looking first a peaceful, it is the Greek eremos which also means tranquil. During the second temple period (515 BC to AD 70) it was the practice to make a sacrifice for the health of the emperor (not a sacrifice to the emperor). The purpose of this sacrifice was to create goodwill between Israel and Rome. It worked and avoided open revolt for the most part. However, for Christians the story was different as we only call Jesus our Lord and Savior, refusing to worship Caesar which resulted in many being killed for their faith.
What of living a quiet life? The word quiet, hesyhazo in Greek, means “not troubled from without” which is very much the hope of prayer. Hoping for good government as a result. Wanting to respect government authority. Of course, respect can best be realized when rulers or those in authority are competent and rightly discharging their duties. Cleary, it is not easy to respect those in authority when they are incompetent and unjust. Because of this, many followers of Christ in the fourth century withdrew from society to lead a quiet life in the desert. There they sought stillness (hesychia) a form of deep prayer.
In summary, quiet refers to the absence of external disturbances while peaceable refers to the absence of internal ones. The church is to remain uncompromising in its commitment to the truth, manifesting love and goodness to all and praying for the lost, including rulers, with the hope the church would experience a certain amount of religious freedom in the first century AD.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, We are grateful to live in a time and a country where religious freedom has for the most part been a given that only now do we really fear such freedom may be lost to us or our children. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek