How To Pray
1First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. 2Pray for kings and others in power, so we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. 3This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior. 4God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is,
5There is only one God,
and Christ Jesus
is the only one
who can bring us
Jesus was truly human,
and he gave himself
to rescue all of us.
6God showed us this
at the right time.
7 This is why God chose me to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news. I am telling the truth. I am not lying. God sent me to teach the Gentiles about faith and truth.
8I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands toward heaven and pray, without being angry or arguing with each other.
9 I would like for women to wear modest and sensible clothes. They should not have fancy hairdos, or wear expensive clothes, or put on jewelry made of gold or pearls. 10Women who claim to love God should do helpful things for others, 11and they should learn by being quiet and paying attention. 12They should be silent and not be allowed to teach or to tell men what to do. 13 After all, Adam was created before Eve, 14 and the man Adam wasn't the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned. 15But women will be saved by having children, if they stay faithful, loving, holy, and modest.
There’s nowhere in the Bible that says we need to sign a document, attend membership classes, make a pledge, or agree to a covenant to be a member of a local church. But that’s not to say that right belief and practice isn’t the responsibility of everyone who attends a local church.
So what is church membership if it isn’t an institutional ritual? Quite simply, and in the context of 1 Timothy, it’s believing that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1:15), putting one’s faith in Christ, and receiving eternal life (1:16). Then, on the basis of this belief, joining with other believers to worship and work together to fulfill God’s plan for “everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth” (v.4).
With the above in mind, we should note that membership is closely tied to the message of the church. The things that members should do, like praying and asking God to help others (vv.1-2), should be focused on those who are not-yet members. True membership is integrated with true faith and involves teaching and telling “all” (vv.4, 6) people that “there is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God” (v.5a).
Church membership and evangelism go hand in hand. Paul underlines this truth with a personal illustration. He tells others about faith in Christ Jesus because God chose him “to be a preacher and an apostle of the good news” (v.7).
Of course we can’t be effective members in the church if we’re “angry or arguing with each other” (v.8). And we also can’t get on with telling others how Jesus “gave himself to rescue all of us” (v.5b) if there’s immodesty or indecency (v.9) in the church. So let’s make sure we “do helpful things for others” (v.10), learn quietly and pay attention (v.11). For this creates an environment where the Gospel can flourish.
Lord, I “pray for everyone” (v. 1). That all men and women and all boys and girls would “be saved” and come to know the “whole truth” (v.4) that “Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to” you (v.5). Amen.