The Baptist church I drive by every day going in and out of my neighborhood has a new sign up this week. It says:
“There is only one mediator between God and man, 1 Timothy 2″
When I arrived home, I pulled out my King James Version of the Bible and began reading 1 Timothy. Here is what it says:
Exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
According to my study Bible, the apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy during the time of the “notorious” Roman emperor Nero, hence the reference to kings and those in authority. But the sign is pointing out that last line about Jesus Christ being the mediator between God and men. I assume this is similar to John 3:16 that says Jesus is the way to God.
From a Catholic perspective, I’ve never been quite clear on that entire Jesus vs. God thing. We were taught about the Trinity; God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost being different incarnations of God, they are all one and the same. That way even though there were three versions of God, it was still a monotheistic religion.
Maybe the Baptists see this differently, but if Jesus is God, how can he be a mediator between man and himself? In the Catholic faith, the priest is needed as an intermediary between God and man, hence the sacraments such as confession being performed by the priest for the congregation. I guess there are different versions of mediation required.
But why would God need a mediator? He used to talk directly to people, Moses to give the commandments, Isaac telling him to kill his son, etc. Why would an all-powerful God need a mediator? And why an only son? If God created everything, why does he limit himself to one son? I guess these are questions I’ll never know the answers to.
But I digress. What really struck me most was the remaining verses of 1 Timothy that I think the people who put up this sign forgot about…the rest of the story as they say.
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle, I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but which becometh women professing godliness with good works.
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness and sobriety.
First, I like that Paul has to remind us of his position and that he isn’t going to lie to us. Then he goes on to say “men” shall pray and explicitly excludes women. As the passage continues, it appears Paul is blaming Eve for the fall of man and therefore, subjugating all women as the weaker sex to be subservient to men. Eve lead Adam astray and therefore no woman can be trusted to be in a position of authority over a man ever again. And besides, Adam was here first; Eve was created as an afterthought. This is where the Catholic Church gets its idea that women can’t be priests. Not from God, but from Paul.
I wonder how the Baptist church feels about this part of 1 Timothy? Maybe I need a mediator to figure it out.