1 Timothy 2:8
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Paul, having introduced himself in the previous verse as one who is ordained to be a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the church (cf. v. 7), now exercises his apostolic authority to give more directions to Timothy, who was ministering to the church in Ephesus (cf. 1:3), concerning prayer in church gatherings. In the first seven verses of this chapter, he had already instructed that prayers be offered on behalf of all people, including kings and people in authority.
The apostle instructed “men” to “pray every where”. The phrase “every where” in the original Greek text is literally “in every place”. Paul was saying that men should pray in places where they met together for worship, hearing of God’s Word and prayer. Their meetings were often held in large rooms of houses that belonged to church members.
In such public gatherings, the apostolic instruction is that “men” ought to pray. Paul uses the plural form of the Greek word an?r, which refers to an adult male person. He did not use the generic Greek word ánthr?pos, which means mankind in general. Obviously, Paul here refers to males, as distinguished from females. When the church come together and it is time to pray, the men ought to do the praying. Now this is the apostolic emphasis. This instruction was very much in line with the Old Testament practice in the Jewish synagogue that only men were permitted to pray in their public services. It is apparent from the following section of this chapter that Paul’s insistence here on men praying in church gatherings, was because some women in the Ephesian church had challenged the male leadership in matters of prayer, teaching and leadership.
As for the men, they should offer prayers, “lifting up holy hands”. Though Paul here mentions the lifting up of hands as a posture of prayer, many prayer postures have been mentioned in other parts of Scripture, such as standing (Genesis 18:22; Matthew 6:5), hands spread out or lifted heavenward (Exodus 9:29; James 4:8), bowing the head (Genesis 24:48; 2 Chronicles 29:30), kneeling (2 Chronicles 6:13; Psalm 95:6), falling down with the face upon the ground (Genesis 17:3; Matthew 26:39), etc. Whatever be the posture of the body, the praying man must be holy. They must also be “without wrath and doubting”, i.e. without angry disputations and contention.